Ok, so this year was supposed to be a BIG one for me. I hit the half century. Before you feel a need to send in belated birthday greetings, I insist that the purpose of this birthday post is merely to use it as a bellweather for social media! As I have done for the last several years, I have tabulated the wonderful birthday wishes as a way of charting what is going on in digital and social media.
Getting social at LinkedIn?
This year, I would have hit a wall (not the Facebook Wall) had it not been for the sudden surge in LinkedIn birthday greetings. Other than LinkedIn, just because I reached the midway between 0 and 100, I didn’t see a huge spike in wishes. [It reminds me how inane it is for some brands who make marketing messages out of their own birthdays.] LinkedIn continues to mobilize itself to be part of the ongoing conversation.
Social CRM off target
Secondly, the CRM folks were clearly asleep at the wheel. I received a total of 5 birthday greetings from companies/brands, representing a drop off of nearly 40% from last year, my 49th birthday. The one that I liked the most this year was from the NHL:
Nothing like rubbing the ego the right way with a big C and a personalized shirt. Quite surprisingly, however, none of the companies/brands recognized my landmark birthday. Instead, they prefered to send generic birthday messages. I say: missed opportunity! Perhaps some brands may not capture the birth year on purpose. But, I rarely have ever hid from my age (since turning 21).
Is a birthday, a birthday and always the same birthday?
We know that any serious CRM database has a data entry point for birthday dates. However, the real insight is that, for the vast majority of companies, all birthdays are typically treated the same. Should there not be a field that distinguishes between birthdays: that some birthdays ARE more important than others? Regrettably, I suspect that brands collectively consider a birthday as just another EXCUSE to communicate, as opposed to a bona fide moment to share with the customer, with an understanding of their context.
Growing Influence – influential birthday?
In one of the more tragic statements of online marketing, Klout (which has dubbed itself the “standard” of measuring online influence), gave me a two-point surge on my birthday. In all, I returned to a level of “Klout” that I had about a year ago, when they decided to adjust the scoring system (and my klout dropped overnight). In an indictment of Klout’s algorithm, how is it that I should gain two points because of a mass of birthday wishes. Are they suggesting that I should newsjack my own birthday to promote a blog post or challenge someone of greater importance to the ALS icebucket? In a conversation with its co-founder and several of the supporting staff a year ago, I suggested that the system enable coverage of online publications (even if it had to be self-reported). Instead, I find my “influence” growing merely because some 200+ people posted a birthday wish on my wall. Not very encouraging, really.
Worldwide birthday celebration
In reflecting on this “banner” year, I did think how marvelous it is to be able to receive messages from so many people, dotted around the world. I am grateful for the outpouring of messages. It’s always endearing — even more so when the message is a bit more personal. Note to self: make sure to spend a few more seconds to make a more meaningful message in my next wishes.
* If you have read this far and feel in the mood, there is one simple birthday wish I might ask for! It would be for you to go by the Facebook page in honor of my grandfather and other members of the Greatest Generation, after whom I was named, and like it, if you feel it merits your click.