Newly Corporate

Work, life and the pursuit of happiness for the young professional.

Deliberate Relationship Enhancement 2.0 : Christmas Cards for Generation Y

iphone happy holidays Growing up I always wondered why my parents put so much effort into the Christmas cards they sent out during the holiday season. The carefully chosen card and picture combo would be sent out to family members and a number of my father’s business contacts. I quickly realized that we got many of these letters from others and it was one of the few times we would see them (in pictures) and hear about how their life was going. It is relationship maintenance, a way for us to keep up with eachother and update our massive cranial archives on the people in our lives. As Tom Peters describes it,

During his days as Goldman Sachs boss, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson had an invariant habit. He would call “60 CEOs in the first week [of the year] to wish them happy New Year.” During my brief White House stint in the mid-seventies, I spent eight or nine straight hours one New Year’s Eve on my office phone. I called close to 100 people I worked with—in agencies all over Washington…I admit that I was purposefully engaging in an ADRE … Act of Deliberate Relationship Enhancement.

As a young professional out on my own, I was recently considering the best way to go about committing a ADRE myself. Many of my contacts are my peers, they don’t expect, or particularly want, a pretty card from me with a picture of me giving them a thumbs up. Why not do this the Millennial way, through my social network? Not only will it not bug them with a card that will quickly end up in a landfill, it allows me to use social networking tools for their very purpose, to ease my communications with my friends, family and associates. Here are a few ways to commit your Act of Deliberate Relationship Enhancement this holiday season by reaching out in digitized, Generation Y style.

cool greetings facebook Facebook Festivus:

Cool Greeting Cards, suggested by the social networking weblog, is a great way to easily send eco-friendly ecards (they have over 150) to your Facebook friends without even having to type their emails. I tried this one and here are my thoughts:

Pros: Quick, Facebook-centric (where most of my contacts are)
Cons: Facebook is not very “business oriented” yet (nor is Cool Greeting Cards), most of my business contacts are not there, the post cards are an Application so it requires the recipient to add a application
Other Facebook Greeting Card Applications Include: My Greeting Cards, Greeting Cards , Diwali Cards, and many more

Plaxo Plaxo Pleasantries and LinkedIn La-la-las:

The popular business social network does not have the ability to send eCards but, will linkedin hopefully be able to soon through their new API. However, you can sign up for Plaxo and, sync your Plaxo and LinkedIn and then send eCards.

Pros: Sent through regular email, no applications to add, more business-centric and professional looking
Cons: More effort, syncing requires contacts to be confirmed in Plaxo

Email eCheer

hallmark With the loads of electronic greeting card options out there, it’s tough to find one that’s decent and not filled with adverisements. I would reccommend Hallmark, althought the selection is limited, or the free one month trial over at American Greetings.

Pros: Good old email delivery, customizable
Cons: Not integrated with social networks, time-intensive (although not as time intensive as the old fashioned way)

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  1. The point of the Christmas card is that it’s supposed to be time-intensive because it’s personal. Anything electronic, even a long and personal email, just will not match a personalized Christmas card in the effect it will have on your relationships… unless you and your friends are more comfortable communicating less and facebook stalking more.

  2. That’s a good point but, I would be willing to bet our generation is less appreciative of the effort spent on personalized paper greeting cards (myself excluded). Maybe it would be better for business purposes though. I guess I will put it to other Newly Corporate readers.

    Do you prefer paper greeting cards over personalized digital ones? Is it a push?

  3. I agree. I love sending handwritten letters when given the opportunity, but the number of addresses I have is very limited. People our age are very mobile and it is very difficult to keep your address logs up to date. People don’t give out addresses each time they move nearly as much anymore as it isn’t as necessary. Email generally sticks with you as you move as well as social networking profiles.

    Electronic Deliberate Relationship Enhancement is easy, convenient, and can still be very personal if sent directly to someone as opposed to mass emailing. If you have older family members you have addresses for that rarely move around go ahead and send the handwritten letter. However, for most contacts in our generation the electronic option makes it a lot easier to maintain relationships with a larger number of people why still adding a personal touch.

  4. Being the lazy one in my relationship, my wife takes charge of this holiday activity. She gets me ready for our photo and even this year decided to dress up our puppy. We do not ramble on about our lives since most everyone can find out what I’m doing through the 100 sites I currently use. But what is cool is going to your friends house and seeing your stupid little X-Mas or holiday card on their fridge. With the internet you can’t do that and that is the difference. You cannot share an internet card with someone the same way that you can a physical card. It is a conversation starter for parties at your house, a way for friends to say, “hey that’s Jen and Greg, what are they up to?” and so on.

    Yes you can forward on an email card, but it just isn’t the same no matter how lame and time consuming it is.


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