I’m Calling Bull Shit on FB Birthday Love

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Over the last couple weeks I have read several familiar Facebook posts. They all read something like: Thank you all so much for the amazing, amazing birthday wishes. I feel so blessed and grateful and honored and special and cared for and loved by all of you. Lucky me. Blah blah blah.

With this last batch of posts, I could not help but go visit the poster’s page to see for myself all these amazing birthday wishes. In each case, I estimate about 90% of the amazing birthday wishes read: “Happy Birthday!” or “Have a great day! Do something fun!”

Call me crazy but is that really an amazing birthday wish?

When you add to the fact that Facebook prompts your friends that it is your birthday, I can’t help but call bull shit on what I am calling “Amazing Facebook Birthday Love” phenomena.

Not only are these sentiments less than amazing, they are less than authentic. Now, before you discount me as some bitter, righteous, anti-Facebook evangelist, I am simply going to ask you to think this through with me. Okay?

Let’s say it’s a Thursday in October. It’s not your birthday. It is not your spouses birthday nor child’s birthday. To the best of your knowledge it’s not any of your friends’ birthdays. You have no clue that you know anyone with a birthday until you log into Facebook and see someone you went to high school with and an acquaintance are celebrating birthdays. Facebook prompts you to send them both a birthday wish. So you post something, right?

WHY?

My initial informal survey tells me your answer will be something along the lines of it being a nice – easy – thing to do, wanting your friend to know you saw it was their birthday, were thinking of them, etc.

And I believe that. But I also believe, because you were on Facebook in the first place, you were bored and looking to be entertained. (Sorry but that is the simple, perhaps depressing, fact of the matter.) In turn, this means that sending those birthday wishes on Facebook was really a form of amusement for you, not an authentically motivated action to reach out and acknowledge the birthday boy or girl. (After all you didn’t even know – or care until you signed onto Facebook – that it was these people’s birthdays)

Now flip this around. Let’s say it’s a Thursday in October. It’s your birthday. You start to read the stream of birthday wishes on your Facebook page. You feel loved and cherished. I get it. That makes sense.

But time out. Why do we really post birthday greetings on our friends’ Facebook pages? When it is your birthday it is easy to read these posts as thoughtful, genuine acknowledgments of you – an amazing out pour of love. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but they aren’t.

Those amazing birthday wishes are your friends killing time. And there is nothing wrong with that. But let’s call a spade a spade. All your gratitude for this “Amazing Facebook Birthday Love,” is really Facebook’s amazing way of keeping your friends on their site a little longer.

True Amazing Birthday Love comes in the form of genuine, meaningful gestures your friends make to celebrate you and your birthday: phone calls, emails, texts, cards in the mail.

It’s a Thursday in October. It’s my birthday. Since I don’t let people post on my Facebook page, I am fascinated and amused by those of you have wished me a Happy Birthday by commenting on my post about gun violence. I see dozens of my connections have messaged birthday wishes. I do appreciate the sentiments.

But meaningful, amazing, feeling so loved? Not from these Facebook messages. Rather these feelings come today from people like my friend Jim who every year on my birthday is the first to send wishes not because Facebook prompted him to (he doesn’t do Facebook) but because his calendar did and he was motivated enough to put that information into a thoughtful email that brought tears to my eyes.

So, let’s all keep spreading our birthday cheer, but how about we stop pretending that it is much more than a fun way to think about each other and distract ourselves.

I Lost It

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Emily and Heather, First Day of School 2nd Grade

School supply shopping. Check. First day of school photo. Check. “How was your day?” Answer: “Fine.” Check.

Back to school time.

My daughters were heading into kindergarten when I created our family dinnertime game: High Low Glitter. It was a great way to get my kids talking – in detail – about their days.  You can’t answer “fine” when you are asked “what was the best part of the day?” Because everyone at the table shares their High Low Glitter, the activity had the added bonus of teaching my kids to listen, empathize and converse as we all asked questions and discussed further the stories being told.

I admit through middle school there were nights that the girls grumbled when I asked: “High Low Glitter?” But at least a few nights a week I got answers. When we hit high school, accustomed to sharing openly and honestly, my kids spared no details. I knew who was having the parties, who was getting in to trouble and more.

After my girls left for college, I decided to create a place for us to share High Low Glitter from a distance. In the development phase of the website, my business partner looked at me one day and said, “Wow imagine all those High Low Glitters you lost!” I stared at him. Suddenly I realized I could not remember a single High Low Glitter exchange.

I burst into tears. I had lost it. “It” being almost 15 years of precious High Low Glitter moments shared around the table from kindergarten through high school. GONE.

This school year, don’t lose it! Record it! After dinner, grab your device, head to your computer, log in to your High Low Glitter account and capture those precious, meaningful moments that get shared during your families recounting of the days highs and lows.

It will be well worth it. You will have a record of the little moments that make up the stories of our lives and seem to matter most.

Meanwhile both Emily and Heather just looked at the above photo and asked me what happened to Emily’s chin. Of course, I have no clue, but had I had highlowglitter.com back then, I bet I could tell you today.

Don’t have an account? It’s free. Sign-up now!

Stephanie-RossStephanie Ross is the creator of High Low Glitter and co-founder of highlowglitter.com. Stephanie wears many hats including executive coach/consultant and entrepreneur, but none more important than mom to twin daughters Emily and Heather. She can be reached at [email protected]

Live With Less Regret

Could High Low Glitter actually help you live a life with less regret? We think so.

In her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware identifies five common themes expressed by the dying:

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

  • When you share your High Low Glitter you are sharing what really happened in your day, not just the most exceptional, dazzling, entertaining pieces of the day. High Low Glitter requires you share the good and bad, the ups and downs: the whole story, the real story from the authentic, true you.

I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

  • High Low Glitter starts with a reflective pause as you think back on your day. This gentle practice counteracts life’s frantic pace. Whether you journal your High Low Glitter or share it with loved ones around the dinner table or online, you are taking time to look inward and nurture your spirit.

I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

  • Expressing yourself in a meaningful way to a small group of people who know you best is at the core of High Low Glitter. When we built highlowglitter.com and the phone apps, we purposely limited the number of connections to 7. Research showed us that as the quantity of connections decreases, the quality of authentic sharing increases. High Low Glitter is designed to make sharing your feelings a safe and comfortable experience.

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

  • Quality connection with family and close friends is again at the core of High Low Glitter. When you share your answers to the 3 High Low Glitter questions – designed to capture the little moments that seem to matter most – with family and close friends you give and receive a full picture of each other’s day-to-day life.

I wish that I had let myself be happier.

  • While we have been told by many that the act of recording and sharing highs, lows and glitters brings users a great deal of joy, the glitter was especially designed to accomplish that task. When you look to find your glitter – a special or unexpected moment that stands out and shines brighter than all the other moments from your day – you also find perspective and gratitude. All of which leads to greater contentment.

Let us know how High Low Glitter helps you live with less regret.

We’re On a Mission

We’re on a mission. We are on a mission to deepen human connection.  We are on a mission to inspire self-reflection. We are on a mission to increase joy through the meaningful sharing of life’s ups – and downs.

In an ever-distracted world, we believe High Low Glitter can do all that and more.

How can three small words do all this, you may ask?  Strong relationships, self-awareness and meaningful experiences are key ingredients in living happier, more fulfilling lives. Actions that strengthen relationships, incite self-reflection and call attention to experiences are at the root of High Low Glitter.

Whether you share your daily high, low and glitter around the dinner table, during a phone conversation, online at highlowglitter.com or using our app, you:

  • pause to reflect which leads you to savor experiences big and small.
  • consider your day in an honest, holistic way, seeing the good – and bad – which provides perspective and balance.
  • share your authentic reflections with the people who matter most, which strengthens connection and initamcy.
  • create greater joy and happiness in your life and in the lives of those you hold most dear.

High Low Glitter is on a mission.  Join us and be part of it.

High Low Glitter Trumps Mom Questions, and Propels Her

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One evening over a year ago, when highlowglitter.com was just a concept, I asked my spouse and business partner Ted: High Low Glitter?  As is Ted’s custom, he shared his low (he likes to get the worst part of the day out of the way first), then his high and finally his glitter.  His glitter struck a cord. He had emailed back and forth with my daughter Heather that day. In their exchange, he asked her: High Low Glitter? His glitter was reading her response. He loved learning about her day – about her life at college –  through the information she shared when prompted by these three words.

Earlier in the day I had talked to Heather.  We chatted for about 25 minutes. I assumed I had all the updates after talking to her.  Then I asked Ted to share Heather’s High Low Glitter with me.  During Heather’s and my conversation I had heard a version of the High.  I had heard about the Low.  But I didn’t have a clue about the Glitter.  And the glitter was an illuminating, delightful glimpse into Heather’s day.

In a way Ted got more information by asking “High Low Glitter?” than I did by cycling through my routine “mom questions” – how are you? how is school? what is new? blah blah blah.  What Ted got was the most meaningful part of his day.  And it was just the impetus I needed to push forward and make highlowglitter.com a reality.

Stephanie-RossStephanie Ross is the creator of High Low Glitter and co-founder of highlowglitter.com. Stephanie wears many hats including executive coach/consultant and entrepreneur, but none more important than mom to twin daughters Emily and Heather. She can reached at [email protected]
 

Today’s Lows

Today was an average Monday: continue tying up loose ends of the previous week and attend to some newly formed loose ends. It was a four-day weekend so the strings are magnified in number and size. That’s a low.

The house was quite today, with the kids having flown the coop back to college. The ruckus of two 20-year-olds coming and going and being twenty prevented me from “productivity” this weekend.  But now I hear not a need for quietude but the silence from their absence.  That’s a low.

Today I got out for a 30-minute bike ride, for which I should be grateful this time of year in Minnesota. Thirty minutes after getting home, it started to snow, so it may be the last ride for a while.  That’s a low.

If today I come off as Mr. Complainer-Pants, that’s okay because, if you don’t have the lows, you can’t see the highs. Today I can embrace both my highs and lows in their symbiotic necessity for balance and gratitude.

Ted-ZuhlsdorfTed Zuhlsdorf is co-founded highlowglitter.com with his partner Stephanie Ross.  A serial entrepreneur and Internet marketer, Ted spends the majority of his waking hours helping clients increase web traffic and business revenue.  When he is not at his computer he can be found riding one of his seven bicycles. He can reached at [email protected]