Labor saving and labor making of value in online congratulatory messages

Jennifer G. Kim, Stephany Park, Karrie Karahalios, Michael Twidale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Social reminder interfaces on social networking sites (SNSs), such as the Facebook birthday reminder, make sending a congratulatory message easier than ever. However, the lower cost in time and effort can also devalue a simple message, and one-click congratulations may be criticized as impersonal. Nevertheless, they are still widely used. In this paper, we investigate how people find value in short congratulatory birthday messages on Facebook despite the criticism. We conducted interviews with 17 participants with the aid of a reflective prompting tool developed to aggregate participants’ previous birthday posts. Participants found the most value in personalized birthday posts, posts for reconnecting with dormant ties, and in the presentation of public affirmation posts for their imagined audience. We use signaling theory to interpret our findings and explain how a social reminder interface that lowers the cost in time for sending congratulatory messages can be both beneficial and problematic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Informatics - 7th International Conference, SocInfo 2015, Proceedings
EditorsTie-Yan Liu, Wenwu Zhu, Christie Napa Scollon
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783319274324
StatePublished - 2015
Event7th International Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2015 - Beijing, China
Duration: Dec 9 2015Dec 12 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other7th International Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2015


  • One-click congratulatory messages
  • Social reminder interfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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