Santa Goes High-Tech
He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake. The bearded guy in the fuzzy red suit is old, but that doesn't mean he doesn't use every bit of tech he can get his gloved hands on. Kids can keep up with him in the digital era. You can tweet the jolly old guy, friend him on Facebook, follow him through the skies and even watch his reindeer. But that's not all. Elves are a lot happier too. With online shopping, they can track down gifts without putting down the eggnog. And if you have a smartphone or tablet, you get send those special lists right to the North Pole. St. Nick very geeky, indeed.
Santa, the Social Media Expert
Most shopping malls have at least one Santa sitting around. He waits for boys and girls to tell them what they want for Christmas. But let's face it: lines are long, and a lot of kids are terrified by a man hidden under a beard and whose "Ho, ho, ho!" sounds more mean than jolly. Enter social media. Facebook and Twitter make it easier tell him what you want, and you don't have to actually talk face-to-face. For a kid that's afraid to climb up on the big guy's lap, it's a comforting alternative to "talk" to him on Facebook. True, you have to be over 13 to join Facebook, but Santa won't mind if parents say it's okay.
Of course, Santa has more than one profile, including a Spanish version. He has plenty of helpers, and that's true on Facebook as well. But if you've want to see where Santa lives, he has a profile from his house at the North Pole, complete with a mailing address if you want to send a letter... or visit. Santa will also mail out letters from his house to boys and girls whose parents ask for them, showing how he's learned to use social media for e-commerce as well.
St. Nick is on Twitter too. And since the site makes it easy to create lists, and you can bet Santa has his nice and naughty lists set up. So be careful what you tweet -- and don't do what over-tweeting celebrities like Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan do. Otherwise you'll get a lump of coal in your stocking.
Checking In on Santa
Even kids can keep in touch with the North Pole gang. NORAD, which has tracked Santa's yuletide journey for the past 57 years, has an app to follow his trip on the big day, allowing kids to view along before they fall asleep. Of course, his helpers have a few apps too, so you can get in direct contact with the big man. For example, Portable North Pole lets you receive personalized messages from Santa while he prepares to fly around the world -- including words of encouragement for kids who are in danger of landing on the naughty list.
Of course, Santa doesn't mind if kids watch his elves and reindeer, too. Before broadband, kids had to imagine what was going on. But now, webcams follow him all around the world, and you can see him writing letters, supervising elves and even feeding his reindeer. Santa makes sure the webcams follow everything, giving kids the chance to watch him use his computer, tablet or smartphone. How geeky! But unfortunately, he can't control who puts up videos of him, so parents need to be careful who kids chat with online. Remember: never give out personal information -- the big guy already knows where you are.
Technology in Santa's Future
Santa's still secretive on a lot of things. We'll never know how he makes it around the world in a single night, and he's not telling how he still manages to visit houses that don't have a chimney. But as technology changes, you can be sure he's on top of it. For example, is there really a need for elves to work so hard when online shopping is so easy? Does Santa really need to fly around when he can click a few buttons and get UPS or FedEx delivery trucks on the roads?
After all, this year alone, at least 96 percent of online consumers plan to make at least one retail purchase this holiday season, according to research firm IMRG. Three-in-four mobile shoppers, including tablet owners, also expect to buy with their device this Christmas season. But no matter how technology changes and life's pace increases, some things never change -- like his ability to bring Christmas joy. He's been able to do that for hundreds of years without a smartphone or tablet.
Even with Santa increasingly becoming geeky like the rest of us, his tech advances still show there is magic in the simplest of activities. There's still joy in writing a heartfelt letter, eating a pile of yummy cookies and turning off gadgets for a night to enjoy the simple glow of the Christmas tree with the people you love. ♦
Categories: Secret Geeks