If you’re into social networking, and if you happen to be someone who celebrates the new year, you may have recently spied a Facebook message called “2013 Pay It Forward.” It goes like this: “The first 5 people who respond to my post on Facebook will receive something from me in 2013 – a gift, a book, something crafty, some baked goods. It will hit when the mood strikes and will be a surprise. These 5 people must also post this on their Facebook page, and do the same for 5 people.”
Talk about a blast. Who wouldn’t want a mystery gift? Why do you think those magazine subscription campaigns are so enticing? We don’t actually need the ginsu knives or the tote bags, we just enjoy getting presents.
According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook now has over a billion active users. Just imagine if everyone jumped on this particular benevolence bandwagon. I can’t even do the math, but I know there’d be a heck of lot of homemade brownies and embroidered bookmarks flying back and forth through the postal service.
Speaking as someone who, out of the blue in November, received two gorgeous, original miniature oil paintings in the mail (Anna, you’re a star!), I can vouch for the fact that it’s big-time fun. But all the same, I’m not signing up for this new pyramid present scheme. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m with Miss Manners on this. A gift should never be something one expects or is obligated to give.
Impulse giving, on the other hand? Good, good times.