This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
UPDATE: This blog has been retired as of August 2011. See this post for more information or connect with me on Twitter.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Gotta love your birthday on Facebook
Sunday was my birthday. Of course, if we are friends on Facebook, you probably already knew that.

I started receiving birthday wishes from Facebook friends on Friday afternoon. A couple more trickled in on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, I was overwhelmed with almost 50 Wall Posts. I even got a handful on Monday as well.

Birthday wishes on Facebook

The birthday notification feature is the perfect combination of timely content, something people like and peer pressure (i.e. all of your friends know that you know that it's their birthday). It is such an ingenious way to drive engagement and, IMO, one of their smartest features (even though I wonder if they understood how powerful it would be when they built it) outside the Mini Feed.

Of course, I also got several messages from Twitter, but not near as many. I have 3 times as many followers on Twitter (1,130+ right now) as I have Facebook friends (377), but got probably a third of the birthday wishes. While some could argue that I am closer to those 377 friends on Facebook than I am with the 1,100 people on Twitter, there are two things that Facebook does that drive this user engagement:

1. They let all of your friends know it is your birthday
There is no way to let your friends on Twitter know that it is your birthday unless you post an update about it. I am guessing that no one would have commented about my birthday on Twitter had I not posted something (I wasn't promoting it, I used Ping.fm to thank all of my Facebook friends for the messages and it got cross-posted to Twitter.)

2. They display all of your birthday wishes on your profile and in the News Feed of the well-wishers
Unlike Twitter, where @replies directly to you don't show up on your Twitter page (i.e. a visitor to twitter.com/smorty71 can't see people wishing me happy birthday), Facebook messages show up on your Wall where anyone who checks out your page can see them. So even if you miss the birthday notification in the right column of the home page, you will see other Wall Posts about it and you'll see a notation in your News Feed from other friends who have posted something.

This was my first birthday since I really started using Facebook heavily. I have been a member for years; however, I've added over 200 friends over the past 12 months and my usage really skyrocketed after moving to Columbus in July.

BTW, despite a quantity advantage Facebook has over Twitter, I think I got my favorite birthday post came from my friend Rob McKittrick (writer and director of the movie "Waiting...") on Twitter:

Twitter sexy bitch

Rob always knows just what to say.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.