Today’s guest post is written by Martin Waxman

Well, it’s December 26 and I’ve finished my holiday shopping – finally! By that I mean, the shopping I needed to get done before Christmas.   That’s what the 24th is for, right?

And now it’s Boxing Day in Canada and the UK.  What?  Don’t worry, I haven’t become a pugilist or joined Fight Club.

Boxing Day is our equivalent to Black Friday – a day of bargains and mayhem, crowds and greed, pushing and shoving… Maybe the Fight Club analogy isn’t so bad after all.

For those who haven’t heard of it, Boxing Day started out as a Commonwealth bank holiday, though some believe it began in the 1600s as a time for tradesmen to collect boxed gifts from their clients.

It used to be another stay-at-home day after Christmas to relax, recuperate, and generally finish digesting your meal. As a kid, I thought it was major clean-up time – i.e. put away the boxes and integrate your new stuff with your old.

Back then it was illegal for retailers to open on Boxing Day unless they were considered an essential service (convenience stores, gas stations, coffee shops) and businesses were fined if they broke the law. Now, it’s shopping supreme.

So what does Boxing Day have to do with social media?  I guess we can tweet our purchases, add a photo to Facebook, pin the deal on the donkey (er, Pinterest).

On the other hand, I find much of what we do in social media has its equivalent life lesson.

Here are three from the traditional Boxing Day experience that I hope you can put to use in 2012:

  1. Rummage. How do you make your way through the crowds and sort through the mounds of stuff to find something you like?  It’s all about discovery, filtering, and selecting the most appropriate ‘content.’ Call it retail curation. And like social curation, it takes time and energy to become a trusted and credible source. The payoff? Your friends don’t drown under a pile of shiny but useless junk.
  2. Regift. I’m not talking about the things you hate but can’t return.  I’m talking about those things you love. So next time you receive a wonderful social object, regift it, that is share it with people and explain its value.
  3. Returns. We always get some things we never use.  Now, while returns are generally not allowed on the real Boxing Day, it’s probably a good idea to get rid of items that are just going to pile up. And while you’re at it, check your email and start unsubscribing from the many newsletters you thought were important, but which you now delete before opening.

And once that’s done, you can even do some shopping.  So many bargains, so little time…

Martin Waxman, APR, is principal of Martin Waxman Communications, a social media  consultancy. He als is a senior counselor with Thornley Fallis Communications in Toronto.  He’s a member of PRSA Counselors Academy’s executive committee and is the chair of the organization’s 2012 conference.  He blogs at myPalette, and co-hosts Inside PR  with Gini Dietrich and Joe Thornley