THE (NOT SO) LOST ART OF LETTER WRITING
For most of us, if asked about keeping in contact with friends and acquaintances, we would say that today it is easier than ever…
With the click of a button, we have access to phone numbers, social media accounts and email addresses - all manner of ways in which we can stay in touch! And it’s likely that you do, and far more frequently than ever before.
Did you know, 23 billion text messages are sent each day worldwide, which is equivalent to a whopping 270,000 each second?
But, despite all this contact, are we actually as close as it would seem? Or has the surge in digital communication and the loss of the art of letter writing left us with more artificial, though more frequently kept up, relationships?
THE DOWNSIDE TO DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
Despite its popularity, there’s no doubt that there’s a downside to digital communication.
Its very popularity has meant that it has become commonplace. People are receiving emails and messages every second of the day and from people and companies that have little relevance to them which, naturally, has resulted in it being valued less and instead seen as worthless or of little importance.
Don’t believe us - what about all those promotional emails you have lined up in your inbox? More often than not, they are ignored, skim read or deleted on the spot, right?
And this extends as far as our relationships with close friends and family. Despite communicating more, the reality is that we actually know each other less because our conversations are becoming mere cold, brief exchanges sent in the blink of an eye.
Think back to some of the most commonly used text messages – ‘How’s it going?’, ‘BRB’ and ‘KIT’ spring to mind – and you realise how pointless the majority of our conversations are.
Most of the time discussions won’t be of any depth or emotional significance, but are simply brief, thoughtless exchanges sent whilst on the go, driving or reading our e-mails at the coffee shop, without pausing long enough to reflect.
And so although constantly talking, it is doubtful how much is actually being said.
A NOT SO LOST ART
The truth is, letter writing will never be a lost art.
The descriptive and deeply expressive nature of a letter allows for a real insight into the writer’s feelings and emotions that cannot be replicated in either text messages or emails.
Involving the physical putting of pen to paper and forming of letters and words, letters are something that cannot be rushed into but take considerable time and thought. This means that the intent and voice or the writer are stronger, allowing for the expression of feelings and emotions that would be difficult to articulate otherwise. As a result, letters are written in such a way that is very rarely misinterpreted and much more carefully considered, avoiding any of the blunt and potentially offensive wording which is so often found in texts and emails.
Furthermore, the knowledge of the time and thought that has been expended in composing a letter will leave the recipient feeling valued and appreciated every time. Receiving a letter in the post has the ability to encourage and motivate the reader, lifting their mood and making their day.
And it’s good for you too! Research shows that having a routine of letter writing can increase levels of contentedness and lower instances of depression whilst giving wonderful opportunity for reflection.
Not just existing on a screen, letters have a place in your home and holding them engages the senses of touch and smell – two senses excluded from the digital age.
Nothing can replace that.
Sources: From Me To You Letters, Huffpost