You ARE Special

Yesterday was my 42nd birthday.  I had expected it to go down without much fanfare – it wasn’t a milestone birthday; at work, I was hosting both a client event and a board meeting which were taking up the bulk of my mindshare; Marc was busy with a full day of meetings; Ian had back-to-back lacrosse and soccer practices.  Life as normal – who had time to celebrate a birthday on a Monday?

And, yet, that’s not exactly how the day went down.  In fact, it was a wonderful day – one of my favorite birthdays to date!  It started with birthday greetings from my boys (even my little dog, Cinco, provided extra helpings of affection!), a special annual birthday song from my parents which brought a huge smile to my face, and loads of well wishes from family, friends and colleagues in the form of face-to-face comments, cards, little gifts and phone calls.  Nearly an embarrassment of riches!  That said, the piece to which I want to specifically call your attention is the role that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Skype – all social media/online connectivity tools – played in illuminating my day.

The truth is, in its own unique way, yesterday was a moment in which every part of my life seemed to coalesce, bringing together connections from childhood (grade school and camp friends) to college to early career positions to volunteer connections to later career positions to networking connections that I have established over the years to many others. I heard from family and friends in Kansas City, in St. Louis, in Los Angeles, in New York, in San Francisco, in Scottsdale, in Miami, in Tulsa and beyond – I even heard from a friend in Mumbai and another friend in Tel Aviv.  How wonderful it felt to be so well cared for!

The message of appreciation I sent out through Facebook and Twitter was this, “Wow… THANK YOU! What wonderful family and friends have I! So grateful to all of you for helping to make this such a wonderful birthday. I am very appreciative of your greetings and well wishes — you made me feel so special.”  The response I received from one of my long-time, closest friends was, “You ARE special.”  Indeed, what a lovely thing to convey – it made my heart soar yet again.

The networking lesson for me was that never before in our collective history has it been so easy to connect with one another.  Never before has it been so easy to ensure the people in our lives, however familiar or strange, however near or far, know that they mean something to us.  It is as simple as posting, “Happy Birthday!” on their Facebook wall or a quick note through LinkedIn or even Twitter (one of my favorites read, “@AlanaMuller HBD2U”).  And though it is not an intimate conversation held over cups of coffee, it is a touchpoint – a way to stay connected.

As ever, thank you for CONNECTING with me.  Know that YOU are special to me!

Oh… and speaking of birthdays and special people, wishing my wonderful grandfather, Papa Sidney Carr, a most wonderful one today!

2 thoughts to “You ARE Special”

  1. First of all … Happy Birthday! Now, re: your post, it illuminates the fascinating social media paradox. They are fantastic tools when used properly. In the wrong hands, they can be annoying. Yes, FB can be a pain … but I like the reminders about friends’ birthdays.

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