Only a few short years ago we all received a deluge of holiday cards by snail mail this time of year from clients, lawyers, and others we work with. The thought of sending a card digitally was thought to be tacky by many. Those of us who wanted to send a card digitally had to either get the original digital file from the creator of the card, or scan it in ourselves (and depending on the situation turn a blind eye to possible copyright issues).
Fast forward to 2012 and the number of cards we get by snail mail has dropped dramatically, while the number we receive digitally has increased.
Cards have followed the same trend as many other things going digital. In 2002 Wired magazine ran an article entitled “The Great Crossover” that graphically charted several technologies over time, showing sales of analogue versions dropping, and sales of digital versions increasing. The crossover was the point that digital overtook analogue. At that time, depending on what the technology was (e.g. cell phones, cameras, TVs, music, video recorders…) the crossover may or may not have yet happened.
Cards have also followed the general trend we see when anything is converted to digital. The first versions are generally just the digital equivalent of the analogue version that came before it – such as the Harrison Pensa card that I digitized for myself in 2009. But later people realize that digital opens up so many more possibilities. Digital cards now may be static images, but they also may be in the form of a video, or some sort of interactive card, such as the video games that Harrison Pensa sent this year and last.
So do readers like the transition from paper to digital holiday greetings? Or is the whole holiday card thing becoming a relic?