OK, you guys got me. I actually...don't really use facebook as a social network at all. I signed up for it because some of my friends did way back when it first started, I accept pretty much any friend request that people send to me (if I can vaguely remember them), but I haven't posted...well, since I changed my marital status in 2009. I do sometimes scroll through to read some of the funny links my "friends" post, or to walk down memory lane, "What ever happened to Bob? -- Wow he had a kid and moved to a different state last August! Well, great for him!" or "Wow, the girl with the locker next to mine Freshman Year is an actress --- with an IMDB page! I have an 'in' to play Kevin Bacon now!" These are equally valid uses of Facebook. Usually privacy settings means I wouldn't be able to see any of those nuggets without being "friends".
My timeline (right term? Or Wall?) is about 90% "happy birthday" wishes throughout the years. Wishes that I almost never see on the day, never once reciprocated, and might not see for months. They are completely ineffective, and just scream "I don't even know Arila well enough to know that she won't see this, oh well, it is my FB obligation
!" (imagine, if you will, while I say the italicized phrase, me striking an ironic and funny super hero pose, index finger pointed to the sky, eyes focused on something wonderful that looks like flying unicorns in the distance) The impersonal, but obligatory, absolutely minimum effort represented by FB birthday wishes taints the whole thing. For me, it turns a weak positive sentiment, into a negative one.
I posted my reasoning and feelings on here to try to articulate "the other side". I don't, and would not ever send a message like the one described in the OP. Apparently it's just as baffling for you guys up close as it was from the OP.
But I think I also have a slight aversion to them because when DD was in HS it was also seen as another popularity measure and I found it silly.
Pod to your whole post, but my feelings have a flavor of this particularly.
I find both birthdays and facebook to be fleeting, ephemeral entities, so having one impact on the other seems apt to me.
I think this is kind of funny, because I feel the opposite. The internet is forever. As soon as you release your photos, sayings, data etc, its almost impossible to erase. I'm sure anyone with racy pics leaked by their BF or party pics that cost them a job offer don't feel like FB is fleeting or ephemeral.