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The Snail-Mail Card is Taking on More Significance in the Age of Social Media

In the age of social media, the snail-mail holiday photo card is taking on more significance. Permanent, physical photos stand out, and families are realizing they can be used to convey important life changes — without having to put them into words. People are using the images on cards to signal major transitions, including divorce, illness and adoption. From a report: “The holiday card gives you a chance to put out the one version that you feel good about. It gives you editorial control,” says Allen Adamson, co-founder of Metaforce, a branding and marketing consultancy. “And it has permanence. People hold on to them. They post them on refrigerators.” The average person takes about 1,000 digital images per year, driven largely by cellphones, according to Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends. Sharing pictures with family and friends is the top reason people say they use social networks, according to an Adobe survey of about 4,000 people conducted in July.

“Social media is this constant rolling letter,” says Brad Kopitz, chief executive of Artifact Uprising, a Denver maker of custom photo gifts including cards. Sometimes, digital photos get lost in the shuffle, he says. The holiday card is a “pattern interrupt,” he says. “It’s like when you get a handwritten note in the mail. It’s saying, ‘You’re part of my life and not just part of the digital noise.'” Fewer people are sending physical cards, making the ones that do go out more noticeable. Seventy percent of consumers said they planned to send greeting cards this year, down from 77% five years earlier, according to a National Retail Federation survey of nearly 8,000 adults conducted in October. That can give a printed card greater significance.

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