So, it’s already December 18th, and I’ve only received three Christmas cards. I thought that maybe it was because all of my friends had newborns last year and didn’t feel the need to resend photos of their children dressed in Santa hats. That, or dogs everywhere were protesting the wearing of those cute little reindeer antlers owners love to attach to their heads in the family photo. Or, perhaps people just don’t have anything to share with me that they don’t share on a regular basis thanks to social media. That’s what Time blogger Nina Burleigh suggests in her latest post “Why I’ve Stopped Sending Holiday Photo Cards.” Is technology killing the Christmas card? I think that might just be the case.
As Burleigh states, “we already have real-time windows into the lives of people thousands of miles away. We already know exactly how they’ve fared in the past year, much more than could possibly be conveyed by any single Christmas card. If a child or grandchild has been born to a former colleague or high school chum living across the continent, not only did I see it within hours on Shutterfly or Instagram or Facebook, I might have seen him or her take his or her first steps on YouTube. If a job was gotten or lost, a marriage made or ended, we have already witnessed the woe and joy of it on Facebook, email and Twitter.”
She’s so right – I knew the second your sweet bundle of joy was born along with how much he/she weighed, name, height and their new Twitter handle, photo, etc., so why would I need you to show me again in a Christmas card? I know where my friends are going for Christmas, when they’re heading out of town, and whether or not they’re in the holiday spirit, all from their social media accounts. Although I have respect for a hand-written note, I’m actually OK with the declining rate at which I’m receiving Christmas cards. Then again, I’m also a fan of technology and saving some trees. Not to mention, if you send me something electronic, I’ll most likely have it for a longer period of time. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a complete Grinch, and I sincerely appreciate the cards I do receive. I’m just saying that I understand the decline, and I’m OK with it. And, it doesn’t seem like I’m the only one seeing this trend.
Also, if you’re looking for other ways technology can help bring you cheer this year, be sure to check out the following Holiday Apps!
As the spouse of a veteran, I have always felt that the Veteran’s Day holiday is an important time to pay tribute to those who have served our country. Perhaps I’m a bit biased, since I understand the trials and tribulations associated with those who dedicate their time and effort to assuring our freedom and safety, but also the difficulties experienced by members of their families who are left behind to hold down the home front.
I also have a great appreciation for organizations that provide services to our troops, vets and their families, and that is why this year’s Veteran’s Day was so great. This year, I had the privilege of being part of the SpeakerBox team that helped launch Troop ID.
Many of you may be familiar with TroopSwap, the online e-commerce discount site for service members and veterans. Recently, Blake Hall and Matt Thompson (who happen to be retired Army Rangers) have launched a new technology for authenticating veteran and active duty military identities so that they can receive online discounts from vendors
that already provide those discounts in their brick-and-mortar facilities. Several large brands, including Under Armour (NYSE: UA), are launching merchant partnerships with Troop ID in conjunction with the announcement. Troop ID verification can be found on UA's desktop site first, then will expanding to mobile site in the coming weeks. Startup America has also endorsed Troop ID as a best practice for its regions as a means to gate identity for veteran-centric events.
I can attest that this is a much-appreciated technology, especially now that so much of modern commerce takes place online. And, now, soldiers can actually take advantage of these discounts while deployed overseas, as well. In the official release, Troop ID Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Blake Hall described the verification widget as the means to ultimately bridge the long-standing civilian/military divide: "Without a way to verify military credentials, brands are unable to deliver discounts to service members and veterans online. Troop ID solves that problem. On the surface, it looks like we are allowing brands to give service members discounts online, but what we are really doing is letting service members and veterans know that Americans care."
So if you’ll pardon a little bit of chest thumping, we were quite enthusiastic to share the success to date for the launch, which officially took place on Tuesday, November 13. Several local DC media along with national retail publications wrote about the news, which can be found here: Washington Post, Washington Business Journal, InTheCapital, Tech Cocktail. Tech Bisnow, Daily Deal, Internet Retailer, PotomacTech Wire and USMC Life.
And, if you know any active-duty military or veterans, be sure to let them know about this new offering so they can take advantage of it this holiday season!