A Social Experiment: The Day I Decided to Remove my Birth Date from Facebook

Remember the days when we would still take note and mark our “real” calendars or planners with special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries of our families and friends? In case you get confused, yes, I am talking about the ones made of paper with numbers and letters in it. πŸ˜€

With the convenience of our present technology, everything is just a click away. No need to write or take notes. Most people don’t take notes anymore. Attendees of seminars or meetings will just take a photo of whatever is written on the board. If it is a PowerPoint presentation, you don’t even have to worry because for sure the presenter will send you a copy via email. I think, the main function of ball pens nowadays is just for signing and not much of writing like before, agree?

Berry’s Finest – The Day I removed my Birthday from Facebook

When it comes to special dates, no need to fret because Facebook will save you. The social network sends you a notification to remind you of a person’s birthday as long as they are on your friends’ list. Whether you are close or not in real life, you can have the chance to greet the celebrant online. This works vice versa. On your special day, you’re overwhelmed with so many wall greetings and well-wishes from your online friends.

Suddenly you feel special, right? Flooded with greetings like a celebrity. πŸ™‚ You even receive greetings from people you cannot even recall how or where you’ve met, most probably because you met only once or maybe she was a friend of a friend but added you and you accepted the request.


Being a Facebook user for almost 8 years now, I always have my turn for that once-in-a-year-fame that I was talking about. In return, I do the same for the people in my list. Every day, every birthday notification that would appear on my screen, I usually type Happy birthday! or Happy Birthday! πŸ™‚ (with a smiley).  Or If I know the person, then I’ll add some wishes and click post.

One time while browsing the birthday notifications for that day, I stared at my screen because I can’t decide if I should send a greeting or not. Sounds petty, right? You might be thinking, how hard will it be sending a simple “happy birthday” to his or her wall,? The thing is, the last time I had an interaction/communication with this person was last year when I greeted her on her birthday. Nothing else. I don’t even know her email address or mobile number or her whereabouts. We never chat nor exchange likes to each other’s posts. Not even a single comment. In short, we’re strangers, in both online and real life. Tell me, did the same thing happened to you? I would guess it did.

What if your birthday is not on your Facebook profile?
How many of your social network friends would truly remember?


Year after year, we send out greetings to our online friends and in return, we receive the same from them. But have you asked yourself, what if your birthday is not on your Facebook profile? How many of your social network friends would truly remember? Or do you think they will even remember to greet you at all? How many of them remember your special day by heart?

happy birthday


So for this year, just before my birthday, I decided to do a social experiment. I “removed” my birthday information from my Facebook profile. By removing, I meant that I changed my profile setting and my birthday details can only be viewed by “Only Me.” (If you want to do the same experiment, click here for the information on how to remove your birthday from your account) I’m aware that this will potentially hurt my feelings, but I also want to know who among my online friends remembers without the help of a Facebook reminder.


As expected, my Facebook profile was quiet, just like how it is on a normal day. My family and I were exchanging WhatsApp messages and they greeted me, asking me what I’ll do the entire day. Out of my 400+ friends on my list, I received 5 birthday wishes and 1 of it was a personal message thru Facebook. One was a close friend since primary school while the other 2 were former colleagues from my last company and the other one was our former housemates whom I treat as one of my sisters. I was not expecting them to remember, but they did and I was touched. πŸ™‚

Facebook birthday meme

How did the experiment make you feel?

The way I look at birthdays is the same with holidays. It must be a fun day! A day to relax and be happy. To me, birthdays are worth celebrating because you are welcoming another year full of great and promising things. Yet for this year, my birthday was a little different. Less noise and fewer people. But my day was still special and I want to thank my husband for all his efforts to always making me feel loved even on regular days. Also, to my family and those people who did not forget. πŸ™‚

Meaningless connections and Temporary happiness

Disappointed? A little bit because there were expectations especially from my closest friends. I thought they’d at least remember the date by heart, the way I remember theirs. It’s just sad. :/

But come to think of it, this experiment was another eye-opener for me about social media and how we, as users, are provided with meaningless connections and temporary happiness.

How the number of likes boosts one’s self-esteem and how we overshare things because we are so hungry for that temporary attention thrown to us. We’re made to believe that our social network community cares, but the truth is, they are either curious or, in this case, just reminded by the system and just going with the flow.

If that’s the case, then I prefer to keep things in my social network profile the way it is right now and I will continue to do what I have started six months ago – sending personal messages to the people who matter to me and greet those whose birthdays I can remember without the Facebook reminder. πŸ™‚

happy birthday from facebook

Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, notes or followers, but in your ability to love, keep comments to yourself, take note and lead.

- Anonymous
xoxo berryduchess


18 thoughts on “A Social Experiment: The Day I Decided to Remove my Birth Date from Facebook

  1. I did the same thing last year. I got a few notifications on my fb, but my mom had made a comment on her fb so I don’t think that counts. My 2 best friends were silent on my bday. Kinda sad but they are forgetful sometimes so I’m not that hurt. Other friends I would think would know didn’t text or anything. I’m about to put up a fake bday to prove a point.

  2. I decided to do this experiment, but in exact opposite. My profile on FB usually keeps quiet for all year, (sometimes I feel like the terms and conditions no one reads). I decided to post my birthdate public, and now I wonder what should I expect.

  3. Hello Gina,

    Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts and visiting my blog. This experiment is really an eye-opener. It’s a bitter pill but i prefer it. At the moment i gave up my personal facebook account and left with only my blog’s official fb page. And it seems that not one of my fb connections noticed that i have been out of their radar too! No one checks up on me or messged me and its been more than a month. So…there. I think i can stay out of it and prefer to connect with the people who really remembers me.

    It’s both sad and an awakening outcome, right? But hey, let me greet you a Happy Birthday! May you be blessed with lots of warm love! Just enjoy your day with the people who really cares, with or without internet connection. πŸ˜‰


  4. Hi berryduchess. I had the same experience as you and alas, so far, no birthday greetings and today is my birthday. Last year, I had it turned on and got 45. I did receive 1 personal card in the snail mail from a friend of mine who means the world to me and of course, was showered with gifts by my wonderful husband. My father sent me a lovely card (with ca-ching in it also) I guess the others are winnowed out. This proves who my real friends and family are. So what am I going to do with Facebook now? I’m not really sure. Keep it maybe as a news source but I definitely will never look at it the same again.

  5. […] based in Singapore) with a beautiful blog covering photography, travel, and this great post about removing her birthday from Facebook (I included that link because I am becoming more and more fascinated by Facebook and the effect it […]

  6. I made that note to myself but still get disappointed when some particular people don’t notice my special day pass.
    P/S: I’m somewhat pained a close friend didn’t notice my landmark birthday or send a msg. But it’s all good. πŸ™‚ Thank you

  7. thank you. πŸ™‚ i guess im too sentimental to things and people and just because i do it my way doesnt mean people will do the same. learned my lesson but im better now. note to self, just dont expect haha! have a good day! ❀

  8. Sorry for the late reply. Very true berryduchess. Something personal goes a long way to say more. Well, I guess we just have to keep being ourselves regardless of who remembers our birthday or not. Well done! πŸ™‚

  9. Thank you! Since mid of last year I tried “cleaning” my social media and only share things with the people i really know. Guess its never too late to learn. πŸ™‚

  10. Good for you berryduchess! I try and limit the amount of personal information I put on the web, so I get very few messages on my birthday. But being close to the people I care about is what’s important to me, so it doesn’t really bother me. Much. πŸ™‚

    In the same token, I also don’t expect my online-only friends to think poorly of me because I don’t compulsively send them birthday wishes once a year when Facebook tells me to.

  11. Thank you for reading my blog entry. and I agree with you, I mean, I will also send them my greeting though they forgot but I now prefer sending them personal messages than just posting on their wall. A text message wont hurt , or maybe a call, right? πŸ˜‰

  12. Hi berryduchess, I had fun reading this article because you totally bared my mind on it. If you were to ask me before trying out your experiment, I would have given you the results first-hand.
    The more painful aspect is, I don’t forget people’s birthday and so even when I say I won’t ‘bug’ them anymore on their birthday, since they have never ‘bugged’ me on mine (except for FB helping) I still feel guilty and send them a message. Well, that me-time and family-time you had, was worth all the disappoinments you got at your discovery.

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