Mikey hangs his head in shame…. ^^
The New York Times
Have you sent out your holiday cards this year? What about your e-cards?
If your second answer was yes, you are in good company. Once seen as the tacky, last-minute substitute for pen and paper, e-cards have become more acceptable this holiday season, especially in the corporate world, where LinkedIn and Facebook have become popular places for sending holiday greetings.
In other words: It's no longer just a Merry Christmas. It's another networking opportunity.
Many companies are embracing electronic greetings, which are cheaper, greener and more versatile than traditional cards and often look more sophisticated to pixel-trained eyes. Now that people have grown more nimble with online video, point-and-click holiday greetings have become a new palette for creativity, while static paper cards may induce a wince rather than a joyful noise.
"I probably received a tenth as many cards this year as last year, and a tenth as many last year as the year before," said Brad Brinegar, the chairman and chief executive of McKinney, an advertising agency based in Durham, N.C.
When the time comes to design a traditional mail card, "usually I go, 'Oh, God, not the Christmas card again.' It either oversteps the bounds of good taste or is boring," Brinegar said.
This year, his agency decided to do something slightly different. Instead of sending out the envelopes full of religion-neutral paper cheer, it staged a David Blaine-style stunt, asking one of its employees–Ben Eckerson, a 24-year-old broadcast producer–to spend several days in a life-size snow globe, where a Webcam streamed live video of him to the Internet.
McKinney sent about 400 holiday e-mails directing people to the site for "Snowglobe Boy" , and the link went viral. By the end of Eckerson's 78.5-hour ordeal, McKinney's holiday e-greeting had appeared on YouTube, The Early Show on CBS and the computers of more than 45,000 viewers.
The agency did not save money–Brinegar said he had to buy more band width to support the extra traffic to the company's Web site–but it did buy wider fame. "We live such busy lives, you don't miss the thing that doesn't come. You're more surprised by the thing that comes," Brinegar said.
Even among friends and family members, electronic holiday greetings are gaining popularity as people send less postal mail and grow more accustomed to living their lives online.
"We are doing the 'save trees/our friends move too much and we can't track addresses' approach this year," read one e-card from Beth Jacob-Files and Matt Files of Portland, Ore. They designed a photo-filled e-newsletter and sent it to about 75 friends and family members (though a few people who do not use e-mail got it the old-fashioned way).
"It was by far more cost and time efficient," said Jacob-Files by e-mail. "I think it was more fun as well, because it provided us with an opportunity to creatively work together and reflect on our past year's adventures."
As user-generated Web content has taken hold, a small stable of Web sites like Rattlebox.com and JibJab.com have begun offering customizable greetings, which let people add their own photos or personal messages to videos. A popular offering on Rattlebox.com, an e-card site, has psychedelic images of Santa and spinning reindeer, and offers the sentiment, "Have a trippy Christmas." (Note: This may not be the one to select for your boss.)