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Dr Melissa Keogh Aussie Craving Cards Interview

Dr Melissa Keogh Aussie Craving Cards Interview

Sending a message, for a birthday or other important occasion, by text or using social media is perceived as a cop out as Australians overwhelmingly prefer to receive a handwritten card, a new Omnipoll survey shows.

While sending messages for birthdays or other celebrations using digital channels such as social media, e-mail or text may be popular (almost 90 percent of the 1225 study participants had done it in the past 12 months), there was no doubt that Australians of all ages, including younger generations, feel more special when someone sends a card.

The vast majority of respondents (84 percent), felt that when they received a card in the mail, the person sending the card had gone to a lot more effort, which they highly valued, but only 51 percent of those surveyed had sent a card in the previous year.

Melbourne-based clinical psychologist Dr Melissa Keogh said: 'People crave more authentic experiences and meaningful connections, and this study shows that digital communications are far less likely to make someone feel special.

'The survey's major finding was that 67 percent of people believe that receiving a card in the mail would make them feel more special than receiving a message by social media, but if they had to choose only one method of communicating, just 31 percent of people believe they would actually make the effort to send a card themselves," she said.

'There are lots of reasons why we don't always do it ourselves, even though we understand its impact. But this survey confirms it may be one of the most effective ways of showing someone close to us that we care about them."

The survey commissioned by Hallmark Australia shows Australians understand the emotional power of a card, with 81 percent having bought a card over the past year. Birthday cards are still the most popular occasion (76 percent) followed by Christmas (63 percent). Interestingly, more people say they'd buy a Mother's Day card (36 percent) compared with a Father's Day card (27 percent).

Although younger generations (the millennials aged between 18 and 34) are more inclined to perceive social media as having a positive impact on relationships – more than a third had also sent a card in the previous year.

Almost half (47 percent) of those under 35 felt social media had a positive impact on relationships, but nearly a quarter (24 percent) felt its impact was negative.

Women are still more likely than men to send a card for a birthday, anniversary or other occasion. The study showed that over the past year, 87 percent of women bought a card for someone else, with men closely following at 75 percent of respondents.

Of the people who valued receiving a card, rather than a text or message on social media:
47 percent valued the time and effort it had taken for someone to send them a card;
32 percent felt sending a card was a more personal approach and allowed for a more personal message which showed the other person valued the relationship; and
11 percent like that a card is tangible and more permanent – so it can be easily kept or displayed whereas social media or text messages cannot.

'What is interesting is that, in the age of the internet and smart phones, cards are possibly even more effective than when they were the only common choice – especially if they have a handwritten note or a design which is carefully selected – in showing someone that you care about them," Dr Keogh said. 'And it is psychologically beneficial for the person sending the card, as well as the person receiving it."

Jennifer Nolch, Hallmark Australia Marketing Director, said the #CareEnough campaign – to launch later this year, will encourage Australians to pick up a pen and send a greeting card to someone they care about.


Interview with Dr Melissa Keogh, Psychologist and Media Commentator

Question: What did the most recent Australian Omnipoll Study commissioned by Hallmark reveal?

Dr Melissa Keogh: The study revealed that although sending messages for birthdays or other celebrations using digital channels such as social media, e-mail or text is very popular (almost 90 per cent of the 1225 study participants had done it in the past 12 months), Australians of all ages, including younger generations, feel more special when someone sends them a card.

In particular, 84 per cent of respondents felt that when they received a card in the mail the person sending the card had gone to a lot more effort, which they highly valued. 32 per cent felt sending a card was a more personal approach and allowed for a more personal message which showed the other person valued the relationship and 11 per cent liked that a card is tangible and more permanent – it can be easily kept or displayed.

Most interestingly, the survey found that 67 per cent of people believed that receiving a card in the mail would make them feel more special than receiving a message by social media, but if they had to choose only one method of communicating, just 31 per cent of people believe they would actually make the effort to send a card themselves.

The survey also found that 81 per cent of people had bought some kind of card over the past year.

Birthday cards were the most popular occasion (

76 per cent) followed by Christmas (63 per cent). Interestingly, more people said they'd buy a Mother's Day card (36 per cent) compared with a Father's Day card (27 per cent).

Although younger generations (the Millennials aged between 18 and 34) were more inclined to perceive social media as having a positive impact on relationships, more than a third had also sent a card in the previous year.

Almost half (47 per cent) of those under 35 felt social media had a positive impact on relationships, but nearly a quarter (24 per cent) felt its impact was negative.

Finally, women were more likely than men to send a card for a birthday, anniversary or other occasion. The survey showed that over the past year, 87 per cent of women bought a card for someone else, with men closely following at 75 per cent of respondents.


Question: Which of the results surprised you, most?

Dr Melissa Keogh: What surprises me abo

ut these findings, or should I say saddens me a little, is that we clearly enjoy and value receiving hand written cards from other people yet given the choice of only one method of communicating most of us would choose to use digital channels instead. I really do believe we need to put more time, effort and thought into sending special messages to friends and family rather than merely a quick message on social media or email.


Question: Why do you think sending a social media message for a special occasion is perceived as a cop out?

Dr Melissa Keogh: I think sending messages on social media for important occasions can come across as a bit lazy, impersonal and indifferent and etiquette wise, sending a card is a polite and respectful thing to do especially when it comes to close relationships. People can also see it as a bit avoidant and hence the reference to it being a bit of a 'cop out".


Question: Who is it okay to send a social media special occasion message to?

Dr Melissa Keogh: In my opinion, social media messages are useful to connect with people with whom we aren't exceptionally close to and for whom receiving a hand writt

en card would actually be inappropriate or a bit weird - say an old work colleague that you haven't seen for some years but want to say a quick -Happy Birthday' to. Social media is good for these situations.


Question: Why do psychologists encourage people to communicate through picking up a pen?

Dr Melissa Keogh: A person's handwriting is very special – it's personal, unique and can be treasured for years to come. I think it carries more meaning to the individual than a typed email or text. It's something to savour and I think hand written notes can strengthen relationships with others. We value them more.


Question: How will written word strengthen a relationship?

Dr Melissa Keogh: The written word is an indication that someone has taken the time and effort to personally write a message, and I think people really appreciate this. We can tend to think more positively about the person who has taken time out from their busy life to jot down a few kind words to us and may be more likely to reciprocate the gesture. And science shows that expressing positive emotions and gratitude in the form of written words is not also good for relationships but also for individual well being.

Currently, I have a beautiful hand written card in my clinic room given to me by a mentor when I changed practice locations recently. It is so thoughtful and elegantly written and I will treasure it for a long time to come!


Question: Why are we craving a written word card more than ever?

Dr Melissa Keogh: That's a great question, although the survey didn't specifically explore this issue. I do think though that in the age of the internet and smart phones, cards are possibly even more effective than when they were the only common choice – especially if they have a handwritten note or a design which is carefully selected – in showing someone that you care about them. They can help you stand out from the crowd in a business sense too.


Question: What tips do you have for writing the most creative card messages?

Dr Melissa Keogh: Obviously, messages will vary depending on the occasion and your relationship with the person. That said, my tip would be to allocate 5-10 minutes of your time to think and reflect on your relationship with the person and tell them at least one thing that you really like about them. I would also advise expressing how that person has positively impacted your life and referencing to a joke between the two of you.


Question: What advice do you have for men in this situation?

Dr Melissa Keogh: Dig deep, be brave and don't avoid telling someone special how you feel about them.

Even something simple will help, like 'I think you are a lovely person and I am glad you are my daughter".


Interview by Brooke Hunter



 

 
 
 
 



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