Facebook Turns Ten – Remembering A Decade of Birthday Posts

Facebook Turns Ten – Remembering A Decade of Birthday Posts

February 4, 2014

On Feb 4th, 2014 Facebook celebrates its tenth birthday.

Wow.

A decade of updates and baby photos. 3,650 days of pokes and Farmville requests. Where has the time gone? To help us understand the magnitude of this milestone, we investigated what birthdays have come to mean as the world’s largest social network turns ten.

Facebook boasts 1.23 billion active users, which means that statistically, Facebook shares its big day with 3,367,556 others. In fact, there’s a good chance that one of your Facebook friends is celebrating their birthday today too.

Uh oh, you forgot a friend’s birthday?

Luckily, Facebook didn’t.

That pixelated pink birthday cake on the top right corner of the Home Page saves the day by alerting you that your friend (we’ll call her Rachel), is celebrating a milestone, too. What’s even more amazing is that if you visit her page you’re likely to see dozens of birthday wishes from other connections. “How many?” you might ask. Good question.

Obviously it depends on how many friends you have in the first place, but according to a case study by Ian Fernando24% of your friends are likely to wish you, “Happy Birthday,” on your big day, which means if Rachel has 839 friends, she can expect around 210 birthday wishes – enough to make anyone feel special. Jackie Cohen, at Allfacebook reports a similar birthday post engagement percentage – “one in six” – when she tracked posts for her own birthday two years running.

So, what’s the big deal with birthdays?

A lot, it turns out.

While, the case study data is a little anecdotal, the high percentage (yes, 24% engagement is high – average post engagement is around 6%) points to something a lot more important than blowing out a few candles.

Facebook birthdays are all about reach.

Social media consultant, Lauren Mikov, comments on the engagement power of birthday posts:

“The birthday wall is a perfect demonstration of Facebook’s ability to manipulate data for maximum engagement and the weight of the top right corner birthday event reminders.”

On this one day each year, everyone’s Wall lights up with well-wishes from friends, acquaintances, and old school classmates – often times from people they haven’t spoken to in months. Birthday posts become a reminder that your number of friends is more than just a statistic – it represents all the people in your life that take an active interest in what you’re up to.

So as Facebook turns the big “One-O,” take a moment to appreciate all the birthday posts you’ve gotten this past decade… then quickly check Facebook to ensure you’re not forgetting any of your friends’ birthdays!

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