Feb. 29, 2016, is an important day in our home – one we’ve looked forward to for decades.
Our wonderful Aunt Donny will turn 21 tomorrow. Donny is a caregiver to our children, and was a caregiver to my wife from infancy through adolescence.
Yes, Donny is turning 21 and, yes, my wife is ... well, my wife is older than 21 (I think I’m permitted to disclose that).
Now, if you’re doing the math in your head, let me help. 2016 is a leap year. Donny will turn 84. But we like to think she’s actually turning 21. After all, she only gets a birthday every four years.
We like to tell Donny she’s finally legal to go to a bar and have a drink. I’ve contemplated taking her to the bar tonight at midnight, but I’m pretty sure neither of us would make it.
Plus, she’s lived a pretty clean life. Shots of tequila are probably out of the question.
I did ask her, however, if she would mind me posting a picture of her to Facebook, Twitter and other places celebrating her 21st birthday.
Donny doesn’t use social media, but she sees the value in using Facebook and other platforms to connect with people and to share important moments.
This is one of those moments: a chance to celebrate something that only comes along once every four years. A birthday, on the actual day you were born.
In recognition of leap year birthdays all over the world, here are a few ways to celebrate this important day on social media.
Make it a big deal: Sure, Donny is turning 21, but it’s not just about birthdays. Know a happy couple married Saturday, Feb. 29, 1992 (the last “Saturday” leap year)? Celebrate their anniversary on social media. Even though the wedding was in 1992, this is their sixth anniversary.
Ladies propose: Speaking of weddings, it’s tradition for women to propose to men on Feb. 29. Even if you’re not ready to propose, but you’re ready to take control of your relationship status, change it on social media and make it Facebook official.
Be prosocial: This day only comes around every four years. Use it as a day of social media civility. Think of this as a bonus day to be judgment-free, to post inspirational and uplifting notes. Instead of pushing yourself away from other people who tend to annoy you, embrace them on social media with some kind words.
Set a four-year goal: Go to Twitter or Facebook and type, “In four years, I will ...” and fill in the blank. We like to set resolutions on New Year’s Day. Why not give yourself a few extra years to realize that goal? If you share it on Facebook, look back in 2020 (pun intended) using TimeHop to see how far you’ve come in reaching that goal. If you reached your goal, celebrate it with the world on social media, of course.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is associate professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about social media and technology, sports and fans.