Birthday Greetings

December 25, 2010

As you grow older you meet more friends. A new colleague, a cousin’s girlfriend, a client’s new project manager, a new property agent, a seatmate on a flight back home. As the number of friends grows the chance of getting invited to a party or invitation to join a group eventually grows, especially if a person is sociable.

I admit that in most cases, I am not fond of making an effort to greet birthday celebrants. In Facebook, a social media site that allows long lost friends, classmates and family members to connect, is a convenient way to greet birthday celebrants. When I celebrated my birthday four days ago, my Facebook profile was flooded with greetings. Greetings from contacts was quite overwhelming. Quite frankly I never interacted with some of them for quite some time — the day they added me as their Facebook friend. Does this mean they are thoughtful enough to remember my birthday or were they did it because birthday reminders are an important part of Facebook’s social fabric? To me, the effort of making someone special on his/her birthday is the most important thing.

Consider that I seldom greet people through their Facebook walls — I prefer to greet them via private messages — these friends ask nothing in return nor didn’t wait for me to make the greeting before they return the favor. Overall I got about 121 Facebook birthday greetings including manually typed messages and greetings generated through Facebook apps.

I feel a bit selfish or insensitive for failing to thank them in the wall. I acknowledge birthdays are important milestones in life but lately I also observe among people 30 years old or older, is that celebrating their birthdays is a reminder they are getting older by the day. Unmarried ones and those who are not in a relationship carry an even bigger burden placed on them by peers. Sort of an indirect post teenage bullying if you may want to call it.

Times have changed indeed. When I was in college, and even at early years after graduation, I received several birthday cards and e-cards from friends. Now, they all congregate at social media and say their greetings; if I were anti-social and refuse to sign up at Facebook, will I get birthday cards or simply left off by the raging social bandwagon? I don’t know. But this time, I don’t want to experiment.

Anyway, to all my friends, thank you for your thoughts and birthday wishes.

New Asian Correspondent Website

December 20, 2010

I have been writing for Asian Correspondent Since October 2009. After being “discovered” from my old “Living in Hong Kong” blog, I was invited to become one of the online magazine’s blogger / writer. I am not a prolific writer, at least in my own outrageous standards, but I am not surprised I was asked to write for AC. Part of the agreement I entered into is that the decent traffic to my Hong Kong blog will have to be redirected to the website. Fair enough, I would rather want to consolidate all visitors to one website than maintain two websites that compete against each other.

The first version of the website doesn’t look pretty though. Inside and outside, I wish there was much more thought put on how we as writers make use of the content management system. More importantly, our end users should be able to get the message where they want to read it. Until the makeover (See “New site” image below) was done, it was the worst blogging platform I have used. I could only stare and appreciate at Global Post, the site I wish Asian Correspondent’s design would draw inspiration from.

I came across different sorts of problems: auto generating URLs that leave spaces between words, poor placement of images, redundant social media icons, and so on. The whole experience was a bit challenging, but somehow, after a year of writing, I got used to the interface. When we were notified that the website is undergoing a design overhaul, I felt relieved the poor user experience would soon be over.

This morning, I woke up to find out that the new version of the website has rolled out. It looks good and quite up to what I was expecting to see. I like the neat placement of content, proper margins, font and color selections. Since the platform uses WordPress, I am quite familiar with its strengths and weaknesses. I have yet to explore what other features are included but so far, the guys behind Hybrid News, the creator of Asian Corresponded did a good choice of partnering with Pallian Creative.