If you would have told me even ten years ago that I’d do most of my correspondence via my computer, I wouldn’t have believed you. First of all, as a sophomore in college, I hadn’t yet purchased my own computer (although I was spending plenty of time in the computer labs, working my way through this new-fangled thing called the Internet!). Secondly, I was a proud pen paller, writing friends all over the country and all over the world.
Suddenly, stationery and stamps went the way of horse and buggy. I was getting emails from my pen pal in Norway and instant messages from my best friend in Michigan. Flash forward a decade, and now I’m looking to increase my monthly text messaging plan on my phone. While I love all the things technology has resulted in, I’m not so crazy about the immediacy and disposability of these new and wide-used ways of communication.
Call me old-fashioned, but I still like the feel of an envelope in my hand and the sound of paper ripping as I open it to see what’s inside. I’m much more likely to remember a card you sent me – for any occasion – than one of a string of emails you sent me last week just to chat. Better yet, I can pull it out a month from now, a year from now, or even ten years for now to reminisce. Who saves their email that long? Who has the time to sift through an inbox?
When I was considering living on campus my first semester in college, my father gave me a greeting card. Not a man of many words, he’d picked a blank, all-purpose card and copied down lyrics to a song that conveyed how he was feeling. As he handed me the card, he gave me a hug and I could see tears in his eyes.
Try conveying that via an electronic message.