While I love that Facebook allows me to stay more in tune to distant loved ones than ever before, it’s difficult to overcome the impersonal nature of posting a note on their “wall,” particularly on their birthday. As Facebook grows ever more popular, users pools of “friends” expand into the hundreds, even thousands, leading to what Heather calls “birthday spam” on the big day.
My best friend from high school, Amy, had over 400 people post birthday wishes on her wall. As well wisher 300-something, my post was totally buried. The only post that visually stood out was one with an image attached. Lesson learned: attach something – no simple text messages.
While you could phone it in with a stock image of a birthday cake, a small amount of clicking at someecards is sure to unearth a silly or snarky birthday comic. This site is one of the most popular sources of single frame cartoons on Facebook – I bet you’ll recognize the style from ones your friends have posted. While this means it’s not exactly unique, it’s certainly more eye catching than a text-only post. Warning: not all are clean, but there’s plenty of selection.
One of the easiest ways to take your Happy Birthday up a notch further is to create a short video. If you have a video camera on your phone, it’s really easy to capture a quick video of the grandkids caroling Happy Birthday to grandma, or the family dog “singing” to your sister. It’s our generation’s version of singing to voicemail.
Using a Facebook app on your phone allows you to post your quickie creation directly to Facebook. Otherwise, upload it to YouTube and attach the link to the message you post on their wall. If you post the “status update” on your own wall instead of theirs, just make sure to tag your friend in the post so they see it.
If you don’t want to star in your own video short, there are some great free online tools to help you create truly cool birthday greetings that will definitely stand out.
Animoto lets you create professional looking videos from your favorite photos. The free version lets you make unlimited 30 second videos. Pick one of the themed video styles, upload those shots from Sue’s 30th in Vegas, choose some custom music and add your personalized message to create a unique homage to getting older.
If you’re not feeling especially photogenic, or creative, Xtranormal will do the creating for you by turning your words into a completely customized animated movie. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.
Start a free account to choose among a multitude of cartoon actors, backgrounds and music. Type your dialog, or record your own voice. A few clicks later and you’re ready to post your custom cartoon to your friend’s Facebook wall. Go ahead and send your nerdy friend their very own personalized birthday wishes from Spock.
If you’re more of a Happy Birthday purist and want to stick to singing your wishes, but feel your vocals need some professional pizzazz, Zya Music will let you create a custom track of “Happy Birthday to you” with a few clicks. Install the free program onto your computer and watch the tutorial video. The tutorial will walk you through how to pick your instruments, beats, hook, and more. It will take you quite a bit more time than just singing happy birthday on their voicemail, but the finished product will be one of a kind.