This time tomorrow you will have opened your Christmas presents, stuffed the turkey and could be onto your second glass of champagne. But will you have peeked at your email account at all?
Go on, admit it, you probably will do. Two years ago a survey suggested that a mere one in five people would be able to go without checking emails during the festive season. Others were going “to try” to avoid checking emails. In fact, for several years now, Internet Service Providers have been reporting that there is a surge of online traffic on Christmas Day – as these figures from 2004 show.
So why, oh why, do people feel the need to wander away from the mince pies in search of comfort at their PC? Why indeed. Partly, we no longer live within a stone’s throw of our loved ones, so we may well be getting messages from family around the country (or the world) on Christmas morning. Partly, we may just be curious – who else is daft enough to check their emails today of all days? Partly, we may want an excuse to break away from the mayhem in the kitchen.
It’s actually the same issue as “stocking up” in supermarkets. Today you will be able to go into your local supermarket and see people with shopping trolleys piled high with food and drink. Every year you can see people buying six loaves of bread. Why? My goodness, the shops don’t open again until – well, Boxing Day…! But we have a “siege mentality”. We do it because everyone else is doing it. And we deny we do it because everyone else denies they do it.
Checking your email on Christmas Day is not going to be that unusual. And most people will do it not because Great Aunt Maude will be sending a thank you message for the bath gels and chocolates you sent, but simply because everyone else is doing it and you don’t want to be left out. And you don’t want to be left out of denying you checked your messages – just like everyone else will do. You won’t be part of the crowd otherwise.
So, go on, check your messages if you must – don’t worry. Who knows you may even find an answer in them as to what to do with those six loaves of bread you bought this morning…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+