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Editor’s note: This story and TV newscast first appeared in 2011. The reporter, George Jackson, now works in Washington, D.C. However, my “predictions” of Thanksgiving becoming more like a Sunday shopping experience appear to be proving true. This year stores are “jumping the gun” on Black Friday with an even earlier Thursday start. Will you be in the throng of bargain hunters? Do you agree with retailers working on Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear from you whatever your choice is.

Stores opened earlier than ever this year for Black Friday and a record $52.4 billion was spent over the long, four day weekend. 11 Connects News’ George Jackson caught up with MarketingMel the night before Thanksgiving, ironically in the parking lot at the local Mall where I was doing some shopping. George and I discussed the newest holiday shopping trends including the earliest shopping starts yet. Without a crystal ball but having read and watched some of the forecasted trends, I predicted that people will come to view the early start to Black Friday (or early end to Thanksgiving, depending on how you look at it) as consumers once viewed Sundays. What was at one time a sacred day to be home from work enjoying family will become just another day to shop (albeit with huge bargains!) With Cyber Monday coming on the heels of such a record breaking weekend we can only expect the spending trend to continue and that’s bound to put some zing into our economy.

I took an informal poll of my Facebook friends Wednesday evening prior to the interview and while the majority said they would not shop Black Friday several said they would be out there and early. One Facebook friend even posted a photo of herself camping out in order to take advantage of the specials. Did you shop Black Friday? Did you frequent a local establishment on Small Business Saturday or will you shop from the comfort of your office on Cyber Monday? Maybe you’re wondering what all the fuss is about since your shopping generally doesn’t start for several more weeks? Whatever your shopping habits, I’d love to have you share your stories with us here!

 

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At the WJHL news desk during Part 1 of Social Media 101 series.

At the WJHL news desk during Part 1 of Social Media 101 series.

I was recently asked by WJHL-TV 11 Connects News to continue my ongoing Social Media 101 series. With the news that Facebook had crossed the 250 million user mark, News Director Neal Boling and I decided that a story on the cross generational appeal of Facebook would be of interest to viewers So I simply went to my Facebook friends and their friends and in a very short time found interview subjects ranging from a college sophomore, to a mother-son duo and a retired college professor.

How and why did they use Facebook? Of course “connecting” was the word of choice. However each generation used the social media tool with a twist. For the college student it’s become a replacement for the telephone. Just post a note on someone’s wall and they will get back to you at their convenience. The 30-something and his mother use it to connect with old friends. Getting to see grandchildren’s photos was a highlight for his mother who has children spread around the country. For the retired college professor it’s a way to keep up with his political, religious and environmental interests. To our bemusement he shared that he quickly found how to turn off his own daughter’s online news feed. “I don’t want to hear that she feels yucky,” he told me.

When asked about the recent Anderson Analytics survey that said only 29% of Facebook users could live without the popular networking tool each interview subject told me they could, in fact, live without it (although the college sophomore used the word “maybe”), but they would prefer not to. My three part series airs July 27-29 on 11 Connects News at 5 pm and 11 pm.

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