From Wired How-To Wiki
Sending out holiday cards doesn’t have to be a red-and-green-hued schlep. Give your writing hand a rest and use these techie alternatives to spruce up your season's greetings.
Make A List (And Check It Twice)
Before upgrading your card stock with electronic razzle-dazzle, you'll want to draft a short list of recipients. The goal is to get a bird's eye view of everyone you're going to include in this electronic blast of good tidings.
Family, friends and co-workers are obvious choices, but don't be afraid to pad your list with outliers. After all, lots of e-cards and electronic greetings are cheap (i.e., free).
This is also a good opportunity to double check your recipients' vitals. Make sure that you have the correct spelling for both the recipients' e-mail address and first/last names.
PRO TIP: E-greetings are rarely 'one size fits all.' Try to separate your recipients into general categories so you'll know who is getting what kind of e-card. We usually stick to the basic three: Personal (friends and family), Professional (colleagues), and Raunch (NSFW-friendly goofballs).
Pick Your Medium
The world of e-greetings has evolved far beyond cheesy clipart. Flash animations, video greetings, personalized slideshows, and various other formats have all become fair game. Here's a quick peek at some e-mailable options:
- Traditional e-cards: The options here are myriad. Outlets like Someecards and JibJab are great for snark, while stalwarts like Blue Mountain and even Hallmark are great classic seasons greetings.
- Video: Spicing things up with quirky B-roll is easy enough with services like Rattlebox. Want to incorporate a personalized video with your own webcam? Services like Jalapenyo are the way to go.
- Slideshow: Sharing memories from holidays past is as easy as creating a personalized slideshow with services like Smilebox, or even the blogging platform Posterous. (Common bonuses include background music and personalized text too.)
- Mobile: Thanks to the ubiquity of MMS-capable phones, sending holiday greetings straight to a loved one's device is also an option. Most old-school greeting card companies like American Greetings offer MMS-ready cards through their websites. Both iOS and Android users have a wealth of options for mobile e-card services in their app stores too.
- Social: Sending e-cards, photo tributes, and slideshows to a loved one through their social network of choice is a quick and dirty solution too. In fact, Facebook has a whole section devoted to it.
Off-the-shelf e-card messages can work in a pinch, but adding a personal touch will undoubtedly set yours apart. The idea is to pair your memorable e-format with a personal touch that shows you actually care.
Want to give thanks and shirk tradition at the same time? Send a Thanksgiving e-card instead of the usual Christmas/generic holiday mainstays. (Don't forget Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus either!)
Referencing a shared anecdote or throwing in a personalized blurb are good ways to ‘go the extra mile’ too. And, thanks to the digital format, you should have a lot more 'room' to include a non-rushed, thoughtful message.
Our advice? Try to keep it between two and five sentences. It’s still a card — not a reading comprehension test.
Just Send A Paper Card
Have a list full of non-tech savvy Luddites? Using the web to send old-school paper cards is easy. Practically every major greeting card company (Hallmark, American Greeting, etc.) offers some form of the service.
Apps like Postagram even let smartphone users design and send personalized snail-mail postcards right from the device.
But above all else, always remember: Whether you go with a kooky video e-card or a star-wiping photo slideshow for your season’s greetings, it’s always the thought that counts.
This page was last modified 00:23, 6 December 2011 by amyzimmerman. Based on work by howto_admin.