The No. 1 Tip for Birthday Social Media

Don’t text your Mom.

Or, more specifically, don’t only text your Mom. You can text her, sure. But this should not be the only means of communication with the woman who gave birth to you on her special day.

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Image: Foter.com

C’mon folks. I don’t care what age you are. It is simply not cool to only text YOUR MOTHER. Yeah, I know, all caps in a blog. That’s how serious I am about this!

And it’s not just because I am now a Mom, and I would probably lose my mind if I only got a text from my son (when he was old enough to have a phone that is). If he is not physically in my presence on the day of my birth he better be calling me on the phone to sing to me. If he knows what’s good for him that is. (Yes, husband, you can save this blog to remind him of this later).

Be Nice to Mom on Her Birthday

This blog came about after I saw a woman write a newspaper advice columnist for input on “What should I do about my adult children’s birthdays?” She points out that her own birthday was acknowledged only by a text this year. “I was very hurt,” she writes.

She mentions that her birthday is Jan. 1 and that “their father’s birthday is later in the year, and they will buy him a gift plus a card.” To me it seems she is trying to give them a little leeway since her birthday is near the holidays. But the columnist, Annie, is correct in saying to “Birthday Blues,” “Shame on your children. The least they could have done was send a card.”

The columnist goes on to note the children are taking Mom for granted.

Do you want your Mom to feel as if you are taking her for granted? On her birthday? Do you?!

Send a card. Send flowers. Buy a gift. Go visit. Take her to lunch. Use your phone to voice call her. Skype. FaceTime.

Remember, your Mama raised you better than to only text your Mother on her birthday. If you love the woman (and here I acknowledge some families have difficult relationships that might, perhaps, justify a mere text), show it by saying “Happy Birthday” in the voice your Mama gave you!

Social Media Birthday Bash

Maybe you’ve seen a shared request on social media asking you to help a birthday someone to receive a landslide of likes or retweets or birthday cards or other greetings.

One woman recently went to Facebook to ask people in Roanake, Va. to come celebrate her son’s birthday at a local park with a water balloon fight. “I thought maybe a few people on my friends list would bring their kids,“ the nine-year-old’s mom wrote. “Instead it has reached people from all over the world.”

Balloon Birthday Bash

Photo credit: Steve Wilhelm / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Yahoo Parenting took the opportunity to interview some experts about whether this approach was a good idea. Yep, let’s just consider Yahoo Parenting the birthday buzzkill from now on.

One expert suggested the birthday could make the child feel alienated. Another suggested the mom wasn’t empowering her son. Both agreed labeling the child as someone who needs help making friends was not a wise move.

There were also concerns about the singular focus on the birthday and one of the experts suggested instead this should have been embraced as a special family day.

Photo credit: garrellmillhouse / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: garrellmillhouse / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Now, my seven-year-old will be the first to tell you I am no parenting expert, but I wonder why facilitating your son having a crazy wild water balloon party and giving him the opportunity to meet with all kinds of new people (who might become friends) is a bad thing. At least this Mom’s turn to social media involved actual human interaction rather than those pleas that ask for messages or tweets or likes and represent nothing more than a bunch of strangers pushing a button on social media.

Me, I’m going to applaud this Mom for taking initiative. She helped her home-schooled son get out there for an opportunity to interact with more kids and gave him a party he won’t soon forget.

Birthday Wishes in the Digital Age

Image source: Blogcdn.com

TIME magazine weighed in on birthdays last month with its 6 Rules for ‘Happy Birthday’ Etiquette in the Age of Facebook. Karol Markowicz claims “Facebook has changed the whole birthday game.” She notes remembering the day is no hardship since you’ll get an alert and a follow-up from Facebook. You know you’ll probably see several other friends posting about the birthday on your newsfeed too.

She says “social media should be complementary to other kinds of interaction, not in place of it.” Her advice? Say something at midnight to someone really special. If you’re a sibling you might also call at midnight. Call friends and family on the day. Prefer a call, but texting is OK, for new friends. Posting on Facebook is TIME approved only for old acquaintances with whom you only keep up via social media.

Personally I can’t believe any etiquette involves calling someone at midnight. I love my birthday more than most, but I don’t need calls in the wee hours. Sleep is my first birthday present to myself!

She also makes no mention of sending an actual birthday card. You remember those? They’re paper with folds and often have a funny sentiment inside. You stamp an envelope that goes in the mail (snail mail even!).

Image source: Cartoonlogodesigns.com

We get so little mail that matters these days. Spend the few bucks to send a birthday card to someone who makes you smile.

BTW, you can even order paper greeting cards online these days. Or rely on e-cards if you really must. Michael Bolton is not the only answer.