Today is National Electronic Greetings Day. It’s the right time of year for Greeting Cards, that is for sure! The research is unclear as to who named this day, and I don’t know how long this observance has been on the books. I do know, however, that a woman by the name of Judith Donath sent the very first electronic greeting in the form of a postcard, in late 1994. The program she designed was similar to an “app” of today, and she wanted the users to submit improvements in exchange for free use of the program.
When I began looking into this National Day, I didn’t see a whole lot of information about it, and wondered what direction it might take me. The results are fascinating. First, I thought about Electronic Greetings and how I use them, how I feel about them, and how they have changed our culture. As with most things, I wondered if my thoughts and feelings are similar to other people’s. Finally, I dug a little bit deeper into pros and cons of Electronic Greetings, and not surprisingly, found both.
I will start with Judith Donath, the very first sender of an electronic card. I was struck by the fact that she’s not much older than I am, so that means she was in her early 30’s when she developed and sent the first Electronic Greeting. In the beginning, only a few cards were sent, but within the first year, the number of cards sent was in the millions. She has since expanded her work into studying how communication technologies, such as social media (conceived in conjunction with the electronic postcard?), change society. Perhaps that’s another reason she interested me so much. One ripple creates another, and her work contributes to our understanding of the culture we live in, with respect to social media and artificial intelligence.
She has published many articles and books related to the subject. I’ve put one of her books, “The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online” on my reading list because after reviewing the description I know it will be worth the time. I am always interested in why systems exist, why people do the things they do, and especially how we can influence our own lives without being a “victim” of society. In my mind, knowledge is key to understanding, and the more knowledge that is shared, the more perspective is gained. The fact that a simple search about electronic greetings brought me to this place proves my point, I suppose, that there is always more to learn and more insights to be gained. I am glad there are people like her in the world, delving deep into her passion and sharing what she’s learned from her unique point of view. I wonder, as she looks back on her career and her accomplishments, how she feels about the fact that she pioneered the phenomenon of electronic greetings…?
Today, Electronic Greetings are commonplace, and there are many options to choose from. Like the brick and mortar Hallmark stores I would frequent a few times a year, there are a plethora of programs and applications that allow us to send cards, GIF’s, Meme’s and more, to individuals and groups. For a comprehensive list from a fellow blogger, visit this site: The Top 7 Sites for Free eCards! I’m partial to Hallmark, because I find the funniest cards there, and some cute knick knacks and chachkis, so for my Electronic Greeting Card needs, I am pretty loyal to this company. As a matter of fact, I am completely TERRIBLE at sending birthday cards, Christmas cards, other holiday cards, sympathy cards and all cards and letters, in general, so if you ever get a card from me, it will definitely be an e-Card. I sometimes go to Hallmark, look at a bunch of cards, laugh a little, look at the price, decide I’m too cheap to buy the card, and go back to the computer to find something similar. Sad. And true.
Some of the pros to using electronic cards (in my mind) are price (as mentioned above, physical cards are pretty pricey these days), ease and speed of use, including the ability to send to multiple people, and the ability to keep them in the cloud should I ever want to re-visit cards I’ve sent or received. As for the cons, there is a chance that your email address could be compromised, leading to spam in your inbox, computer viruses or malware, and even theft of more sensitive personal information. That’s why it’s important, when choosing an e-Card company to do business with, you choose one that is secure and has good privacy practices.
The ability to communicate via the computer and the internet has changed everything we know about relationships, and it continues to evolve. I am excited that I am here to witness these changes, and to be able to use these tools to increase my knowledge of our universe. I hope this short dive into Electronic Greeting Cards has broadened your understanding a little bit, too! To celebrate this National Holiday on social media, use #ElectronicGreetingsDay