Yesterday was my birthday. It was different from birthdays in recent years because I didn't receive any of the usual birthday wishes from friends on Facebook. That's because I've recently removed much of my personal information from Facebook (including date of birth) and have culled my Facebook contacts down to manageable single-digit number. Because of this I received no birthday wishes from any of my online contacts (on Twitter - because I got suspended, or via this blog). Don't feel sorry for me - I had a fantastic birthday, I spent all day with my family and in the evening we ate out in the city - it was lovely. There was even Cake! But it made me wonder what it must be like for people with a higher reliance on online interactions for sustenance. I won't lie - I did miss the birthday wishes from Facebookers. That emotional sustenance is Facebook's killer feature, proving that it's the little things that count. The decision to include upcoming birthday reminders in people's time-line is one of the most thoughtful things the people at Facebook ever did. I know that disclosing my date of birth makes me an easier target for advertisers but the lack of birthday wishes is enough to make me think twice about not providing that vital nugget of demographic data.
Sustenance and Surveillance, you can't have one without the other.