By Вen Li
In light of the recent anthrax scares in the mail, many people have switched from postal mail to e-mail to get their messages across.
Greeting cards are no exception to the online migration this holiday season. While online greetings have existed in various forms for at least six years, 2001 will be the year they need to prove their mettle. They must grow to meet the demands of a general population seeking a reliable means of delivering their holiday cheer, where the only infection possible is from a computer virus.
The first electronic greetings consisted of nothing more than primitive Web pages on which the sender personalized a pre-fabricated greeting under an image. Some of those eventually migrated into e-mail messages as e-mail client programs became sophisticated enough to handle more than just plain text.
As online technology advanced and evolved, the greetings soon incorporated Flash animation and sound, delivering the kind of interaction their dead-tree predecessors could not.
Today, electronic greetings are even more sophisticated. With the advent of electronic commerce and online shopping, you can send gift certificates, merchandise, money, and other goodies to friends around the world without leaving the comfort of your desk.
All you need is a Web browser and an e-mail address to send or recieve an electronic greeting, while payment for gift attachments requires a credit card.
For links to online greetings providers, visit gauntlet.ucalgary.ca/greetings/.