Changes in Facebook as seen through Happy Birthday messages

I recently turned 29 and received birthday messages across five platforms: Whatsapp, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Zoom. All but one is owned by Facebook.

Of the 5, Facebook has been around longest, long enough to have changed enormously. I remember when writing on someone’s wall was common and whole conversations would take place back and forth. Walls are now reserved for aunts, old teachers, and someone you met at a party in 2012.

To visualise the change I went back through my account and counted the number of birthday messages each year since I got Facebook. The decline is rather stark, even as the number of friends on my account has grown. It hit zero in 2019, so maybe 2020 is the beginning of the resurgence.

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