According to an article I just read, traditional letters are being gradually replaced by the newer electronic ways of communicating such as e-mail, e-messaging, texting, and faxes, as well as by cheap long distance telephone and Internet voice transmission services. I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise to most of us. Personally, I use most of the above e-methods every day for both business and personal communications. They are quick and easy and, in most cases, get the job done.
Unfortunately, some people are taking this to the extreme and trying to achieve everything via these “quick and dirty” e-communication methods. I find this a little bit sad since the “personal touch” of a real “snail mail” letter in certain situations just can’t be replaced by what I sometimes refer to as “c-messaging”, the “c” standing for “convenience”.
In fact, I believe that there are still many situations where e-communication is not appropriate and/or not effective. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that the 27th most popular keyword phrase (out of hundreds) entered by people who arrive at my writing help websites is the term “friendly letter”. That means that thousands of people every month are looking for info on how to write something that they refer to as a “friendly letter”.
So, it seems that in spite of the trend towards the quick and easy e-message, some people realize the impersonal nature of these e-missives and are looking for something more. I can understand why. After all, how would you like to receive a text message or e-mail one-liner on something important such as an expression of sympathy or love? Say a parent or other loved one passes away; how would you like to receive an unsigned e-mail of sympathy in your inbox mixed-in with the usual assortment of spam and other junk e-mail? Or, what about receiving or sending an e-mail as a substitute for a traditional love letter? Do such communications ring true; are they really heartfelt? In my opinion, not at all.
To me, such messages speak volumes about their senders. It means that they can’t even be bothered to take the time to jot down a few heartfelt sentences by hand and sign the letter with their own signature. In my view, someone would have to wonder about the true sincerity of the sender and question why they even sent what they did. Was it just to cover off their bases? Were they just “going through the motions”? If so, maybe they might be better off sending nothing.
Even in cases where something is too long and laborious to write out by hand one can still add the personal touch. For example, a letter produced on a word processor, and then signed by hand and sent by regular mail conveys a lot more caring than a quick and easy off-the-cuff e-mail. It means that at least the author took the time and trouble to: properly format and edit a letter, address an envelope, purchase and affix a stamp, and finally, deposit the letter in a mailbox somewhere. When I receive such a letter it automatically tells me that the sender made some effort which shows me that they truly care and that their message is heartfelt and sincere.
Don’t get me wrong here; I am not against modern e-communications at all and, as I already stated, I use them every day in both my personal and business activities. However, there are many situations in our lives where e-messages just don’t suffice and a personal letter is the only way to sincerely communicate a message from your heart.
Ok, just before I get down off my soapbox here’s a sample of a typical “friendly letter”; examples of which some people are apparently still wanting to write: