Screw Snail Mail

Culture

This is just going to be a quick post to complain about this: “‘Snail Mail My Email’ Marries the Romance of Analog with the Convenience of Digital” from GOOD.

The basic premise is this: You can write an email and then send it to this project, where strangers will transcribe your letter onto paper, add either a doodle or a lipstick kiss (your choice!) and then mail it through the postal service. And this is supposed to be a good thing because it revives the personal and romantic art of letter writing.

Bullshit.

Here is why this is a terrible idea: This is not personal. Strangers are transcribing your email. You are not actually writing anything on paper. This is a machine of personalization, which sounds awfully contradictory. Do not ever send me a letter through this project. I will turn the paper to mush and make you drink it. Also, it is a waste of paper. I think letter writing is nice, too, but – goddammit – you have to write the letter yourself!

On that note, let’s stop lamenting the age-old art of letter writing, shall we? And stop telling me that in the age of Facebook, texting and emails, we aren’t really communicating anymore. I communicate plenty, thank you. I use Facebook to connect with friends who I ALSO see in person and communicate with using real, human voices. In fact, I occasionally use Facebook to instigate such in-person meetings! I use texting for a) quick messages that don’t warrant a phone call, b) for practical purposes, including meeting up with people in real life and c) when a phone call isn’t possible. So shaddup about it. And finally, email is not the devil. Why can’t an email be as personal as a hand-written letter? I put as much care into an email. My thoughts, and jokes, and questions between friends are just as real in an email conversation as they are when I use ink. Except I can link to stuff, and I don’t have to wait a few days for a response. Plus, saving trees! In fact, I even have a folder in my email where I save sentimental emails, just like a box of letters I have from my pre-email days. And they are just as important to me as the pen-and-paper letters are.

You know, when they invented the telephone, people bitched about the demise of communication then, too. And I’m sure when we start communicating through computer chips in our brains in a couple of decades, I will mourn the days when we emailed each other.

I’m not saying the medium doesn’t matter – quiet down, Mr. McLuhan – but I’m just saying digital means of communication like texting and email can be just as valid. It just depends how you use it. So, once again, shaddup about it already.

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