Yesterday was my birthday. In the year since I had my last birthday, there is no question that social networking sites have made leaps and bounds in their popularity and usage. I am forever getting invitations to join business networks: Linkedin, Ryze, Plaxo…and the list goes on. Most of the time, I bite. I can appreciate the value of having a large social network as a business resource. So yesterday I experienced a new birthday phenomena: canned birthday e-cards, system generated by people whom I have never met, but am linked to via someone I know. I am happy to have them contact me if I can help them in a business capacity – but a generic greeting card? This might be a time when you would want to avoid the temptation to hit the “select all” button in the “send birthday cards” setting of your network profiles. The ecards felt a little like birthday spam.

I sincerely appreciate the e-cards sent by those I know and love (thanks Cale!). I just have a hard time getting that same warm and fuzzy feeling from a stranger who set a dial to tell me “May all may special wishes and dreams come true.” Maybe my special wish is to not get these next year.

Or maybe I should just quit complaining and remove my birth date from my profile.

Beth Anne Whalen

Palo Alto Software, Inc. 

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