How has Social Media changed Christmas?
24 December 2015 by Marketing Team
Whether you like it or not, Social Media is vast becoming an important part of day-to-day life and this doesn’t stop on Christmas Day! In fact you could even now say that this powerful tool becomes even more prominent at Christmas time…..
One of the most important uses of social media during the festive season is to keep in touch with family and friends. For those people with relatives that are far away, even on the other side of the world, it can be a great way to keep in touch and to share the big day. It is also a great way for distant grandparents to see their grandchildren getting excited about Santa’s arrival or for older children who have moved away to see their childhood home festively decorated!
On a smaller scale, friends will also be seeing tweets and facebook notifications all day long about presents being unwrapped and pictures of turkeys coming out of the oven! Social media is becoming an important part of keeping families closer at Christmas but it’s not just personal use social media is having an impact this Christmas.
At Christmas, people are generally known to be more giving and generous making them more likely to donate and support many a charitable cause. In 2014, Marie Curie Cancer Care used social media to capitalise on this and launched their #XmasChallenge campaign. Along similar lines to the popular ice bucket challenge earlier in that year, Marie Curie asked supporters to go to a random location shout “it’s Christmas” (like the 80’s Slade hit!) at the top of their lungs and then nominate three friends to do the same and then follow this up with a text donation of £3, all with the aim to help terminally ill people be able to spend Christmas with their families. And this trend continued into 2015.
Another fundraising day that takes place in December is the increasingly popular Christmas Jumper Day (the most established use of the day being to raise money for Save the Children) – A day that took place in many offices across the UK including our own! Though not at its heart a particularly social media savvy campaign, ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ has nevertheless managed to use of social media very cleverly: Many people joining in on a Christmas Jumper Day will share an obligatory ‘selfie’ of themselves in their ‘kooky’ Christmas jumpers and the hashtag #xmasjumperday is now widely used to raise further awareness.
This year it seems Age UK are at the forefront when it comes to raising the profile of a good cause at Christmas. Many will be aware that John Lewis teamed up with Age UK for their hotly anticipated Christmas advert and asked us to show someone they are loved this Christmas. The Age UK Christmas appeal to raise awareness that 1 million older people go more than a month without speaking to anyone asked us to donate to help Age UK to be there for lonely older people, especially during the festive season. Age UK have used social media as a driver for this campaign specifically using the hashtag #NoOne to show support.
As well as this campaign for the elderly, the Blue Cross have launched an appeal to find rescue pets loving homes for Christmas too. Social media is to the forefront here as they are sharing loveable pictures of dogs, cats and even a pony posing with their Christmas wish to find a home for Christmas. They are asking you to show your ‘suppawt’ (see what they did there) with many animals having waited months for a home, the Blue Cross are hoping this campaign will raise awareness and find these animals their forever homes.
Social Media is also a great way to excite for those eagerly anticipated Christmas ‘moments’ from the John Lewis Christmas advert as previously mentioned, to the Starbucks Red Cups (and the ensuing controversy) and the Pret Christmas sandwich (always a ‘must’ in December!). In these cases, social media is used not only to engage and share the anticipation for Christmas day itself but also for these pre-Christmas ‘moments’. This year, the Pret Christmas sandwich was continuously tantalised, with Pret a Manger creating a ‘it’s coming’, ‘save the date’ and ‘schedule now’ range of promoted tweets to hype the launch of their Christmas treat.
So we can see that social media is used very positively at Christmas time from helping charities to letting us know when we can grab our first ‘Christmas’ coffee and perhaps most importantly helping us to keep in contact with loved ones so we can share the ‘big day’, together. It offers people and brands instant possibilities that just wouldn’t be there without Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all the other outlets now at our fingertips. But is it all positive, or is there is also a negative side to social media at Christmas?
Social media during the festive season isn’t always used with the positivity of these previous examples. One mother from the Isle of Man has felt the backlash of a social media ‘nasty’ when her photo of the extravagant amount of Christmas presents she had brought her three children went viral. She received criticism and abuse on social media for what some have described as spoiling her three children, something that would have been kept between family and friends were it not for the extended reach that social media brings.
Also, the power of social media is also heavily played upon on in the race for Christmas number and not necessarily in a positive way depending on how you look at it – this year’s it’s the Star Wars theme and Grime MC Stormzy that will no doubt take social media by the horns in the aim to knock this year’s X Factor winner, Louisa Johnson – the usual big contender for Christmas number one and crown themselves with the glory! Is this healthy competition, or just the cheap hijacking of a Christmas tradition?
Furthermore, we are warned to be careful about what we post on social media over the Christmas period. Examples such as highlighting on social media that you’re leaving home for Christmas isn’t a good idea, just because you are on holiday, does not mean burglars are taking time off too – your house could become a target. Moreover, we are warned not to ‘advertise’ that we’re worth robbing, bragging about your new Ultra HD 4K television set might not be a wise move if all the world can see!
Overall, social media has done a great deal in changing the way we interact over the Christmas period, not only with those close to us but all of us together and especially for brand campaigns. Much as for the other eleven months of the year, as long as individuals and brands alike are careful in their use and think their posts through before clicking send, social media can certainly bring an extra element of festivities into your world this week. We can only wonder what Christmas 2035 will look like….