Have you ever dreamt that your favorite social media site would wish you a happy birthday on your special day? If you have, then you’re in luck. According to TechCrunch, Twitter lets you do just that.
Earlier this week, the company announced on its blog that it would let users input their birthday data into their profiles. This will then display a user’s birthday information publicly. And here’s the big perk for that small amount of trouble: On your birthday, Twitter will “celebrate” by releasing some animated balloons all over your profile. Twitter inaugurated the feature on Kevin Hart’s profile, whose birthday on July 6 coincided with Twitter’s announcement.
If you also want the Kevin Hart treatment, then just head to your Twitter profile, click on “edit profile,” and choose how much about your birthday (just the day and month, or birth year, too) you want to reveal publicly.
While this may look like a neat-but-clichéd way to show some appreciation to users (albeit late to the party, since Facebook has been doing this, like, forever), there’s actually an agenda at work from Twitter’s perspective. In reality, this is nothing but a naked data collection, as the company will now know some of its users’ birthday information. And that’s what the company’s after, so that it can target its ads appropriately to the users that businesses on Twitter want to reach.
From a data-collection standpoint, Twitter’s current, very simple sign-up isn’t doing the company or its advertisers much good. All you need to do to sign up for a Twitter account is to input your name, email address or phone number, and username. From a user-experience standpoint, of course, that’s very convenient and desirable, but it doesn’t provide Twitter with much useful information about who’s using the micro-blogging platform.
Time will tell if users will be responsive to this data grab that’s barely disguised only altruism. However, if you’re into this sort of thing and don’t really mind what Twitter’s ulterior motive is, then adding your birthday details to your profile will take only seconds.