A Social Media Retelling Of The First Christmas

What if Mary and Joseph gave birth to their baby Jesus in the Digital Age? How would they have used the social media tools available to a world where one out of every 13 people have a Facebook account, and one tweet or YouTube video can catch the attention of thousands or millions if it goes viral. The Portuguese digital marketing company, Excentric not only explores that possibility but has produced a video titled, "The Digital Story of the Nativity" to explain to the world how they see that story playing out in the year 2010.

In less than 10 days, the 3-minute YouTube video has attracted more than 4 million viewers to the Christmas story as told through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Amazon, Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia and other social media channels and other forms of digital communication that many of us take for granted today.

The reenactment of the birth of Jesus has been seen in all types of formats  - from elementary school plays to lighted figurines adorning the front porches of city and suburban homes - but until today none have retold the biblical tale through tweets, emails, Google searches and Foursquare check-ins.

Because there is a lot of story to compact into a three minute video, you may want to replay that video a couple of times to catch some of these social media highlights (you might have missed on the first go). Of special note is:

  • Mary shopping online for a donkey, and Joseph acquiring a cow in FarmVille
  • The three kings checking into the manger on Foursquare
  • The wise men using Amazon to purchase gold, frankincense and myrrh
  •  Untold numbers of Facebook "Likes" after a status update announcing Jesus' birth

In a CNN report, Miguel Figueiredo, president of Excentric said the goal was not just to go viral but also to Miguel FigueiredoMiguel Figueiredoshow his clients in Portugal how social media tools can work and how seamlessly they can blend in with one's own understanding of the first Christmas. "We took the story that everyone knows and (our clients) could follow it to learn, especially for people who are pretty far from the usage of (social media) tools, and take them step-by-step through the benefits of each of these platforms," he said.

While the video might not appeal to some because of its religious nature, Figueriedo was quick to point out that his marketing firm does not specialize in religious campaigns and does not currently have any religious institutions as clients.  For them it was a common denominator topic that most people could relate to. And for Figueriedo it was a way to communicate with their Portuguese clients who live in a country that is predominantly Catholic.

A trip to Excentric.pt's Web site (seen above) shows the many ways the company is currently developing digital marketing campaigns for their clients through the use of virtual reality, holograms, 4D technology, emotion recognition, Web salespeople and other types of Web applications.