You've Got Mail: A case for analog communication and connection
You used to know that when you got the mail, there was bound to be something in it with your name on it – may be a letter or two, or even an unexpected package! With so much communication happening online these days, and few of us receiving paper bills anymore, the odds that you get something like that have gotten lower and lower. Are we losing something by not knowing what’s going on in our friends’ lives as often as we used to? It can feel that way sometimes. Maybe they feel the same way? Maybe there’s room in our lives to be communicating more in person than virtually? Writing a letter is a way to slow down and connect with another person in a more intimate way—it also sparks a new curiosity in the reader about the sender, and we could all use a touch more curiosity in our every day.
I like letter writing, a lot of people don’t or are out of practice because we are accustomed to using text messages and other forms of communication over paper letters. I’m not trying to be old-fashioned, but maybe we could take a moment to remind ourselves why we shouldn’t give up slow communications in favor of digital alternatives. There is a unique joy in writing a letter and receiving one. Can we make space for the practice of analog communication and intentional connection?
Write with love and genuine interest
There's something about writing with pen and paper that just feels different than typing on a digital device. Maybe it's the fact that you can physically feel the pen scratching against the paper, or that you can see your own handwriting rather than a computer-generated font. Whatever the reason, there's just something special about writing by hand.
And it's not just us - famous writers, artists, and thinkers have all extolled the virtues of analog communication. In a world where we're constantly bombarded with digital information, taking the time to slow down and write by hand can be a welcome respite. There's the added bonus of being able to keep your handwritten notes and letters as cherished mementos. In an age where everything is ephemeral and disposable, it's nice to have something physical to hold onto.
1. Our email inboxes have become our virtual barn for mail, taking up space and cluttering our digital lives with a never-ending stream of messages.
2. The convenience of digital communication means we’re more likely to share thoughts and news via text message, social media, or email instead of through slower methods like letters or postcards.
3. Everything’s so easy now, we forget to slow down and appreciate how effortless it is to communicate onscreen rather than by pen and paper (like it used to be). As a result, we lose touch with handwritten communications like letters or postcards from people who are important to us but may not be close enough for text messaging or constant phone calls.
While digital communication is easier and more convenient, it is also missing something. Letters and other hand-written notes can have a unique intimacy that digital messages lack. We live in a world where people are often too busy to take the time to stop and write something thoughtful. It can be nice to take some time to thoughtfully craft a handwritten letter to someone you care about.
Putting it into practice
Start by finding some stationery that you like. This can be anything from fancy paper to a simple notebook. Then, find a pen that you enjoy writing with. Once you have your supplies, sit down and decide what you want to say.
If you're writing to a friend, start with a greeting and catch up on what's been going on in their life. If you're writing to someone you don't know well, introduce yourself and explain why you're writing. Once you've got the opening figured out, start filling in the body of the letter.
Remember to keep it personal - this is your chance to really connect with someone. Write about things that are important to you and things that you think would interest them. When you're finished, close with a friendly sign-off and your name.
Seal your letter in an envelope, address it, and pop it in the mail. Then sit back and wait for the joy of