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Happy birthday to whom?

I recently celebrated a birthday (no, that’s not me on the left).

And I was swamped by various online recognitions of my special day from various online merchants or partners who, for one reason or another, required me to register my birthdate (as opposed to my birth year).

My overwhelming response to these “thoughtful notes” was: “What an incredible waste of time?” And then I had the followup notion: “What a bunch of crap?”

Does anyone who gets our radio station-generated birthday note, online or via the mail, really believe there’s any thought involved whatsoever? In an age when a child can issue an email blast and direct mail often comes in faux-handwritten format, an age where everybody knows corporate birthday cards can and will be automated, is there any value in sending these things out to your consumers – to your listeners?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think actual harm is done. Because the listener knows this stuff is automated and if I have to depend on a machine for love then I should be drinking myself into a stupor rather than tuning in your station.

What’s worse, the audience knows we know this – but that we send this crap out anyway.

As a general rule, if you can’t recognize somebody on the street as they walk by, you shouldn’t send them a birthday card.

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