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Black Friday: hardcore shopping and socializing traditions take new form, offer new opportunity

Admit it. You can’t resist it. Thanksgiving in the U.S. has, since I can remember, signaled the start of shopping and socializing. And no one is immune. Including you. Black Friday beckons to all and in the digital age never before has this siren sounded so loudly. And never before have so many of us answered her call, taking shopping and socializing traditions to new heights and new forms.

Even in today’s fragile economy, while bottom lines won’t prove the season’s spending as a success (or failure) for weeks to come, social media marketing offers insights and tracking abilities that do prove consumers are definitely window shopping, or as Google Trends indicates, searches worldwide for Black Friday Deals [1] are being conducted at “volcanic” proportions.

It used to be that we’d wait for our holiday shopping circulars to come to us via snail mail. Glossy colorful slicks: eye candy for the shopaholic. It used to be that during drive time, while listening to random radio tunes, we’d be lulled into desire for products promoted in jingle-bell style. And it used to be that in between our favorite sitcoms and serial dramas, those award-winning television commercials would entice our auditory and visual senses, pushing us out the door and to the store to buy. So come Black Friday, traditionally, we’d make a date with friends to meet at the mall for some good old-fashioned shopping and socializing.

Those traditions still hold true, however.  More often than not they aren’t at the forefront of capturing our attention and spurring us to action, nor are they cost-effective strategies for retailers to boost the bottom line [2]. Snail mail circulars equate to junk mail and both radio and TV allow us to easily bypass promotional advertising. In addition, none of the traditional temptations offer immediate gratification, immediate validation, or immediate results.

Today’s hardcore shopping and socializing take place in the new media space. Click, we’re done. Nearly every one of us searches online for information on everything from products to services to coupons to schedules to recommendations to directions to you name it before we make a move or spend a penny. And even our socializing has blossomed from meeting at the local mall with a neighborhood friend, to figuring out where to meet by tapping into our mobile widget and getting advice from folks we don’t know on dining data sites such as Urban Spoon [3], to meeting in a chat room with folks we’ve befriended on Facebook [4]or joining a User Group on our LinkedIn [5], to deciding what to buy for our Secret Santa based on some tweets endorsing this gift or that.

Our ability to promote and to consume in smarter fashion as well as our potential for networking and connecting knows no bounds and has no restrictions, except, perhaps, for our willingness to take advantage and to engage in traditions that take new form and offer new opportunities.

Related posts:

IABC World Conference Really Attracts World Participation
Three Keys to a Successful Social Media Campaign
B2B Social Media: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why [Infographic]
Black Friday Fever [Infographic]