Why I'm Going Old School & Offline This Holiday Season
Last year I sent out 60 holiday cards. 60! Know how many I got back? 19. Now I could take that personally and worry that nearly two-thirds of my family and friends have literally “written me off.” Instead, I’m going to chalk it up to social media. Connectivity, if you will.
You see, I’m Facebook friends with 44 people on my holiday mailing list. I know their kids’ achievements, where they vacation, and, whether I care to or not, their political leanings. So why bother sending a card? Their Facebook timeline already serves as the proverbial Christmas letter and any photo they might have included in a holiday card probably posted to their Instagram account months ago.
But here’s the hiccup. Leaning on social media to keep in touch with family and friends is flawed. We all know that we only post what we want to share on social media – perfect photos of our perfect lives. A snapshot of our timeline rarely captures the “every day.”
Take for instance my timeline. Anyone who hasn’t spoken to me in the past year might assume I live a pretty charmed life. My daughter is a budding actress, my son an avid golfer, and my husband a dashingly handsome TV news anchor. When I’m not working, I find time to sew, lead a Brownie troop, and travel the Midwest in my camper. Gasp! How does she do it? Truth? I don’t. I failed to mention that that new kitten we fostered craps all over my house, and I’m losing my own uphill battle with incontinence. You didn’t hear about the THREE insurance claims we made this year either – one each on my car, my husband’s truck and the camper that got crushed by a tree (with us in it!). And what about my Instagram account? Where are the photos of the mold on the front of my house or my 10-year old Rav4 that I can’t afford to replace? Not there.
Why? Because I, like you, won’t share these less-than perfect details on social media. Just as I wouldn’t put them in my Christmas card. But if you know me, you know these things. That’s because at my very core I’m an over-sharer. But not on social media!
So this year, you’re not getting a Christmas card from me. You’re getting a phone call instead. Or if I’m lucky, a face-to-face visit. In this day and age of “fake news,” I’m calling B.S. on social media statuses. It seems the more connected we become, the less connected we truly are. Christmas cards may be blasé, but we simply cannot allow social media to fill that void.
I’m going old school and offline with the intent of truly reconnecting with each and every person on my Christmas card list. So when you see my number pop up on your caller ID, pick up. (Hint: I’m area code 317). I look forward to really connecting. And then maybe next year I’ll send you a Christmas letter telling you all about the year I didn’t send a Christmas card. Here’s to 2018!
Tammy is the owner of Mother of Pearls, a full-service, boutique public relations agency in Carmel, IN, that specializes in media relations, media training and crisis communications.