Each year, I send a friend of mine a happy birthday email. I started doing this back in 2006, before Twitter, before Facebook, before Instagram, or FourSquare, or Tumblr, or before LinkedIn became established. Hard to believe that seven years ago was that long ago, it isn't, but in terms of "Internet time," it was a different cycle.
Some years, this is the only contact we have, which means packing in a full year into several sentences can be either challenging for the full years or trivial for the empty ones. Each year, I think we both smile about these emails.
With the advent of Facebook and other social sites, however, birthdays are both displayed prominently and announced early. Wishing happy birthday to someone is as easy clicking a mouse button. The happy birthday message might not be too personalized, but, hey, I remembered to with you a happy birthday! Yay!
And yet, it wasn't that long ago, either, that sending an email to wish someone happy birthday was considered somewhat impersonal. Sending ecards was gauche. Breaking up via text was simply unheard of.
I sent my friend a happy birthday via email today. He thanked me for the personal note, and let me know that his dad and I were the only two to do so.
I had to smile: I am now old school.