the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Twitter Birthday Hell

I spent over an hour on Twitter this morning, wishing various bloggers a Happy Birthday.  I’m only writing about this minor life experience because I think by exploring it with you, I will give you some insights into how my brain works, and why I should return to therapy or at least quit Twitter.

Today is the birthday of Schmutzie, a blogger from SK, Canada.  I have known her online for five years.  I wrote a sentimental tweet to her today about how I cried from joy the first time I met her in person at BlogHer.  A little corny, but heart-felt.

Then I worried that it was a little too personal to be writing this in public.  But it was too late.

Today is the birthday of The Bloggess, a blogger from Texas.  She is one of the most popular humor bloggers online.  Hundreds of people were wishing her happy birthday on Twitter.  I didn’t want to get my message getting lost in the crowd, so I DM-ed her a “Happy Birthday, Jenny!”

Then I worried that sending her a DM rather than a public happy birthday was a little too personal.  But it was too late.

Today is the birthday of Magpie Musing, a blogger from New York.  I recently saw her at a party in New York and she is really cool.  I had already wished her a happy birthday on Facebook, so I didn’t think it was necessary to wish her a happy birthday again on Twitter.  But then I figured she would surely see my glowing birthday tweet of love for Schmutzie, and she would end up hating me for the rest of my life.  So I wrote a “Happy Birthday, Maggie” to her.

Then I worried that I was sending her too many Happy Birthday messages, and she might be wondering if I am hitting on her, or worse — stalking her.

Today is the birthday of Mimi Smartypants.  We are not friends and we don’t follow each other on Twitter.  But I have read her blog a few times, and she is a great writer, and always wanted for her to follow ME on Twitter.  So, I crassly sent her a birthday message on Twitter for the sole reason of her noticing me, and then hopefully saying to herself, “Who is this kind gentleman sending me this happy birthday message?  I must immediately go read his blog and comment on it, and then follow him on Twitter, because he is wonderful.”

Then I worried that I looked like a kiss-ass by sending her that Tweet.

After I send all these messages, I wanted to make sure that everyone felt the love equally, so I wrote another tweet wishing all of them a Happy Birthday by name, and then including a few celebrity birthdays as a humorous afternote (“also happy birthday to Mary Tyler Moore, Jon Voight, and Jude Law!”), which I found on some online “Who was born today?” site.

I immediately received a tweet from Magpie Musing, a woman of culture, that read “And don’t forget Pablo Casals!”

I was glad to see that my Happy Birthday tweet worked, and she didn’t hate me.  I decided it was safe to return to my sarcastic Twitter wit, and I replied —

“I think you just alienated half of Twitter with that reference.”

She returned with a rather serious reply, and a link to Pablo Casals on Wikipedia.

“Pablo Casals is a great cellist born in 1876.”

Now, I know who Pablo Casals was.  My tweet was a joke insinuating that most of the idiots on Twitter wouldn’t know Pablo Casals from Pablo Picasso.   The joke was mocking them and the highbrow reference.  And now everyone who followed Magpie Musing on Twitter was going to be under the impression that I was an ingnoramus who didn’t know Pablo Casals!  Hey, I watch PBS, too!

I quickly started typing a retraction —

“I do know who Pablo Casals is, maybe not as well as Mary Tyler Moore, but…”

Then I worried this tweet would make me look insecure.  Besides, nobody would believe that I knew who Pablo Casals was anyway.

I closed down my Twitter app and took a twenty minute nap.  I wasted my entire morning because of you.

F**k you, every single person who has a birthday today!


  1. schmutzie

    Fuck you, too, Neil 🙂

  2. Anna

    You should be commended for such thoughtful tweeting. I am now feeling like I do not put nearly enough thought into my tweets (’cause I don’t put any in at all). I wouldn’t think twice about wishing happy birthday to someone I didn’t follow (or didn’t follow me) on Twitter. Also didn’t realize until recently what exactly the whole following/unfollowing/twitter culture entails.

    Ok, now just from thinking about all this I need a nap too.

  3. Dana

    I’m only laughing at you because I’m laughing with you too. Hilariously, honest behind-the-scenes look at the angst of reducing life and nuance to 140 characters.

  4. Neil

    Anna, don’t use me as a model. Please.

  5. slouchy

    This is perfect.

    And you? Are uncannily like me.

  6. Marie

    Oh, Neil, you think and worry more than I do, which, believe me, is saying something. We should have a Think-Off!

    Please don’t worry about looking insecure. Everybody knows you’re insecure.We’re all insecure. And those who aren’t insecure–What’s up with that?

    If you don’t wish me happy birthday (in March), I’m going to think about it. A lot.

  7. MFA Mama

    Bwahahaha *wheeze* oh Neil. You say what the rest of us think. Hee!

  8. Laurie

    I posted a photo I took of Jenny at Mom2.0 on her Facebook wall. She’s not even on Facebook that much, so I am a total kiss-ass. Just wait til you see what I’ll do for Schmutzie. I don’t know what it is yet, but just wait.

  9. Di

    OH Neil! but Anna has already said ‘oh Neil’ however … I said it out loud as I smiled my way through your post


  10. Laurie

    And look! This commentluv nonsense happens to link to a WHOLE POST I wrote for Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah on her December birthday, because she is my BFF.

    It never ends. I think if we analyzed blogging December birthdays further we may end up solving the mystery of the last episode of Lost.

  11. carma

    wow! that was a heck of a lot of thinking; I can see why you were wiped out! But that’s OK, with all my contest tweeting I am not expecting a birthday greeting come my birthday time.
    Oh man, was that too crass?? Should I not post this comment. You see, we are mental birds of a feather my friend!!! 😀

  12. Nancy P

    uhhh I haven’t been following you on twitter and you don’t follow me, but my birthday was Dec. 5th. just sayin…
    I probably should follow you since @twentyfour says your swell and all. Going to hit follow right NOW.

  13. Redneck Mommy

    I’m laughing. Most likely at you rather than with you, but still, I’m laughing.

  14. palinode

    I just got off the phone with Pablo Casals, and man, is he ever pissed.

  15. Magpie

    I’m crying from laughing so hard and no one in the car can understand why and I don’t think I could begin to explain.

    And Mimi Smartypants too? Swoon.

  16. Nancy [Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas]

    You have now cemented your status as the Woody Allen of the blogosphere.


  17. Neil

    Please note that I spelled ignoramus wrong. Thank you, otir, for telling me on twitter. No happy birthday from me this year, that’s for sure.

  18. Genevieve

    If it makes you feel any better, I’ve sent you @replies and then wondered if perhaps it was out of line. So now you can see life on the other side of the fence. God, Twitter is the most horrible invention ever. Why do I love it so?

  19. uncouthheathen

    Well fuck you, too! 😉

  20. furiousball

    ahh yes, when I log into Facebook, I have the “Happy Birthday” anxiety. Some of these people in my friend list, I just don’t know that well… should I even wish them a happy birthday? Doesn’t that seem kind of I don’t know co-opting their birthday joy?

    I just wish ’em all a happy birthday and hope no one gets mad at my well wishing.

  21. Quadelle

    Neil, you crack me up. Not to mention make my neurotic moments seem oh so tame.

  22. Danny

    That would be a definite YES to returning to therapy (no offense, aren’t we all in therapy?) and a NO to quitting Twitter. It’s too perfect a laboratory for uncovering what you need to discuss in therapy…

  23. Momo Fali

    Hey now! It’s my daughter’s birthday. Don’t mess with my baby girl, Neil!

  24. Marinka

    Damn it, I missed some birthdays today. I hope Jude Law forgives me.

  25. Colleen

    Now I’m worried that I’m not worrying enough about the birthday wishes I’m wishing… or not wishing.

  26. bookfraud

    F**k you, every single person who has a birthday today!.

    That would include my elderly mother, and my young nephew.

    You’ve crossed a line. I’m coming after you, Neil, NYC-style. And not Forest Hills or Upper West Side, either, but Brownsville or Morningside Heights. Watch your back.

  27. Eric

    I just stumbled upon one of your other posts and decided to check out your blog. This post was hilarious, thought you should know.

  28. apathy lounge

    My real life breaks my work concentration enough without Twitter doing it too. It’s why I cancelled my Twitter account. For now.

  29. GrandeMocha

    I’d love to see the wedding pictures!

    OMG you are going to be too busy for Twitter & posting with all your women. We’ll miss you!

  30. WebSavvyMom

    –>I keep telling you to save the Happy Birthdays for the people who count the most, those born between February 20 to March 20. I’ll be the first to wish you happy birthday in early March pisces to pisces.

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