I have perpetrated a fraud against my friends.
It was supposed to be all in the interests of curiosity and experimentation, but now I just feel guilty. Basically, all I did was change my listed birthday on Facebook to Thursday 12 July (it's actually in April). Unfortunately, I'd underestimated how much people now rely on Facebook for truth and fact, and the birthday and anti-birthday messages started flooding in.
"Happy birthday!! (I admit, I wouldn't have known if facebook didn't tell me!!)" wrote one on my wall. "Fuck off is it your birthday" added another. More abuse/congratulation followed.
Then it started getting worse - the messages moved away from the enclosed sphere of social networking and into the 'real' world. An old school friend now living in Australia appeared on Instant Messenger and wished me numerous happy returns. My old flatmate Jamie sent a birthday text (even though he had offered to buy me concert tickets for my real birthday just a few months before). The next day, my mate Dan emailed with some "things to do before you're 30" advice. Then my boss came up and told me she'd made a trip to WHSmiths the previous evening and bought me a card, before remembering she'd bought me one back in April too.
I started 'fessing up. Jamie texted back, "You are a sick fuck. Tho a sociologically interesting one, I grant you." A work colleague admitted on IM that she found out late in the day, then "went home and thought 'you utter shit, you didn't do anything' and felt really guilty". Dan emailed: "dam, can't believe i fell for that one, i knew when it was, how schoolboy of me, didn't even think to question it."
Oh dear. Sorry everyone. In my defence, all I can say is this: if Facebook told you to jump off a cliff, would you?