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Birthday!

A very, very happy birthday to Colin!




On the subject of birthdays, the recent proposed profile page redesign/Vox/LJ-is-for-teenagers kerfuffle has quite reasonably resulted in LJ wanting a better idea of what the actual age distribution of its users is.

The problem is, there's no way to tell them without either telling the universe exactly what one's birthday is, or telling no one at all. LJ has some very handy little ways of letting its users know what birthdays are forthcoming among those on a friendslist, but this only works when the date is shared. There's no way to share just the date and not the year, so many only list the date - leaving LJ with no idea how old their average user actually is. I have no real objections to people I know and trust knowing this sort of information about me. I do object to random online people knowing so easily - it's just one more piece of data which risks identity fraud, and there's no point compounding the problem when so much is already available so freely online. I'm feeling indecisive as to what to do about this right now - up the average LJ age, or keep what birthday information I have here publically available.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
oursin
Jun. 27th, 2006 10:55 am (UTC)
I've given my complete birth-date and screened it from public view for the moment, but am inclined to go back to day/month and open when the Powers That Be have had a chance to gather the stats in question.
owlfish
Jun. 27th, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC)
That's a sensible approach.
(Deleted comment)
owlfish
Jun. 27th, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC)
If only they'd thought of that way back when...
fub
Jun. 27th, 2006 01:27 pm (UTC)
There is a nice checkbox next to where you can fill in your birthdate, marked 'Show your birthday to other users'. Uncheck it, and you're all set.

This is also mentioned in the news post you linked to!
owlfish
Jun. 27th, 2006 01:45 pm (UTC)
Yes there is, and therein lies the dilemma. Many of my f'list relies on publically available birthdate data to wish each other happy birthday. It's certainly no problem if they don't happen to notice mine (my ego can stand it!), but they won't know when it is if I uncheck that box - and I certainly would for the duration of having the year attached to it.
wakarusa
Jun. 27th, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
I posted a suggestion that they redesign the user profile (again, sorry) to include a section where you could check a box next to your age range instead - 18-24, 25-40, 41-55, 55 plus, etc. Only there are 3,000 odd comments, so I don't know if they will EVER read mine.
juniperus
Jun. 27th, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
I left mine public - my birth year is nothing to fear. Will not do the same for Emma's mostly-unused lj - kids are a different story.
celandineb
Jun. 27th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if communities are folded into that, but I put my complete birthdate into cook_with_cel and then set it to not show; but I would assume that the PTB could still get that data. My birthdate (without year) shows on my regular LJ for just the reason you mention, so that friends know when it is.

What would be nice would be if the LJ maintainers could poll us, or something, to find out the average age. *shrugs* Or it seems like they could set something up so that everyone would have to log in once even if they usually don't, and then have to give age in order to do so. If they really wanted to know.
maxineofarc
Jun. 27th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
You could always lie? Alter the year, or the day?
owlfish
Jun. 27th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
So true. Neopets celebrates my birthday in October, for example.
cavmn
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)
For nonsense websites (of which I definitely consider LJ one) & applications, I usually just pick the oldest year allowed in a pull-down menu. Correct day & month w/ the year set to 1900 or 1901 or similar. Most of my friends know I'm in my thirties. I find it humorous to think of a few strangers imagining me turning 106 this summer.

I did apply for a free gift from one company, and evidently they shared their application database w/ Globe Insurance company, because for a few years I kept getting retirement/senior citizen/long term care insurance offers from Globe.

My SSN was one of those recently stolen in the massive veteran database. That coupled with my birthday is a powerful combination for identity theft, so I don't advertise it all that much.

(Anonymous)
Jul. 2nd, 2006 11:26 am (UTC)
birthdays in blogs
i don't mind people knowing mine either, but when i put it into my Blogger profile it automatically listed me as "Libra" and gave the Chinese horoscope year. Since I'm a cynical rationalist who has no truck with such things, I had to take it out again because i felt somehow misrepresented...
Cie
http://withersea.blogspot.com
owlfish
Jul. 2nd, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
Re: birthdays in blogs
Happily, the problem's since been dealt with - LiveJournal have implemented more options determining how much birthday information is publically displayed. Now I can tell the company the year of birth, but not have it publically listed.

Funny about Blogger's horoscopic interest.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )