Santa oyj

Julkaistu 21.12.2018. - Communication Hashtagged

Photo by Samuel Holt on Unsplash

“Ho, ho, ho!” Recognize the monosyllabic trio of the same two-letter word? After all, it is among the most recognizable, especially in Europe and Northern America. This is supposed to be Santa’s laughter, or the sound he makes when he cheerfully greets children on Christmas Eve.

A fantasy creation, Santa adheres to a rather detailed visual image, with white beard, red coat, big belly, flushed cheeks. But apart from that, anything else is the figment of every child’s imagination, especially Santa’s laughter. “Ho, ho, ho,” can be said in anybody’s voice. It is a sound that survived for generations with the power of imagination that fuels folklore and culture.

Fast forward to the 20th century. Ho Ho Ho is the title of a 1990s music album. It is the name of mocha released during the holidays at Caribou, an American coffee shop chain. Now move on to the 21st century. #Hohoho is a hashtag. On a Google search bar it will get you the title of the album, the Caribou mocha, a dictionary definition of the word, a Wikipedia entry of its cultural background. Type it on Twitter, and it will generate pictures of people dressed as Santas, or more mischievously as the Grinch, that green guy who stole Christmas, as well as plethora of Christmas trees, gifts and other season-related items. It can also lead to a search of Santa himself which would soon lead to, well, Santa’s website. And Facebook page. What did you expect? It is 2018.

So what happened to ho, ho, ho? Where did the imagination go? (Yes, the two sentences rhyme. It’s Christmas). Social media and cyberspace are leaving little to the imagination. Santa’s website and Facebook page are titled Santa Claus office. Yes, office. Complete with logos and staff. Reindeer are probably considered staff, I guess. Families book visits. Order gifts. Pay for photo sessions. Capitalism? Commercialization? Yes. But that was already there in the pre-digital age. Families would go to shopping malls and a man dressed as Santa would take photos with their grinning children while a parent would go pay for the pictures. But the internet does something. Santa is now as official as any entity can be. Others can still have their Santa websites. But for children, and now for adults, the freedom to imagine Santa’s laughter is long past them. You can select the Santa you want to hear and see. Ironically, existence in cyberspace, however virtual, has brought one of the most imaginary figures in human cultures more reality than the physical existence of an actor in a fake beard and red coat.

Communication in the digital age has done it again. Cyberspace has modified how we communicate with each other since day one. Now, it is changing how we communicate with our own imagination.


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Päivitetty 21.12.2018 - Verkkotoimitus