We send approximately 250 cards at the holidays every year. The recipients are a mixture of business contacts, friends, family, and others. For many years we produced the traditional family or kid photo as the centerpiece of the card.
This year I just could not face it. It has long ago evolved into my task with some help from Val, but none from the boys who would rather get a couple of shots at the doctor. Take the picture, process it, negotiate approval, threaten obstreperous teenage behavior, outsource the printing, then the writing, sealing, mailing torture.
For several years I have noticed a repressed annoyance with using the US mail, while everything else in my life has gone digital.
Repressed, because it was somehow cheating. There was a Catholic sense of the need for a bloody purge over hours of writing, licking, and sealing to make the cards genuine. Without penance how could there be joy?
Fortunately, I am only married to a Catholic and recognized it was time for my inner Calvin to move us into the 21st Century with an e-card.
I knew what I did not want – no music, no video, something that took as much effort and time as opening a regular card. Music is terrible in a business setting. I once opened an e-card while multi-tasking in a boring meeting. It announced itself to the conference room with Jingle Bells.
Over the course of a couple of days I scanned through various e-card services until I found a quiet card that opened in two clicks off an email from Jacquie Lawson’s service (supporting a startup small business entrepreneur back in Blighty versus mega-holiday retailers). It took about 2 seconds and there was no envelope to recycle. One click launched the card, the next click opened the fake envelope individually addressed to a cheery holiday scene.
What I was not expecting was about 50 responses back via the reply feature. In addition to rekindling a friendship or two dormant except for “old school” holiday cards, I also had a dozen business contacts write back with almost all of them asking me to call in the New Year to catch up. Instant feedback.
E-cards – I am totally sold.