One of the things I find sad about the rapid prevalence of the digital world is that old mediums of communication are slowly dying. It is so quick now to just add someone on Facebook, tweet a long lost friend in another country or send a text for free, why would you bother going an old fashioned route?
I currently live in Strasbourg in France on my Third Year Abroad from university and can again revel in the delights of letter writing, even though I still send letters in England, to English addresses. I think I am one of a dying breed of my generation who loves nothing more than writing and sending long letters to people. I don’t care about the cost because I believe it is worth it to show you put in that extra bit of effort.
I used to have many pen-pals when I was younger, and kept it up a lot longer than most other people. One of my closest family friends doesn’t own a computer so I spent three hours in McDonalds the other day (before getting kicked out for ‘being there too long’) writing a long letter talking about anything and everything. I found postcards of Strasbourg of places I’d been and attached them to the letter, and sent a picture of the tram lines, annotating where I’d been and what I’d done. Maybe you would call that arrogant, or a waste of time, but I would love to receive a letter like this – and to really see in my head what that person is doing in their everyday life, without simply googling.
Snail mail is slow and laborious but it feels so much more personal. When my friend graduated this year, when another friend was feeling low, when another friend got a job, I didn’t hesitate in sending a card, even when the latter two would have seen in the following days anyway. This is similar with postcards – I send them from almost everywhere and I love receiving them. I like to share my moments with other people, and I like them sharing it with me. One of the last postcards I received was from my best friend who was on a walking holiday of Scotland, which I really loved because it not only inspired me to see what it was like myself, but because I felt more intune with the person, understanding their life a tiny bit better.
Is this naivete? I don’t really receive any letters or cards myself, but my grandparents have always sent me a card wishing me luck in even the littlest things, so I think this is where my obsession stems from. I am not very good at expressing my condolences or congratulations personally and I feel that a home-made card shows that in my own way I did try and I am there for them.
Do you send letters, postcards or cards? If so, why? If not, why not? Do you think there is anything more personal with these cards or will the internet suffice? I’d love to hear other views.