When was the last time you picked up a pen to write a letter to someone? When was the last time you received a letter from someone in your mailbox?
“Snail mail,” a common term for handwritten letters has been and still is an effective way of communication today for many reasons. However, as we are surrounded by technological advancements today such as e-mail messages, text messages, instant messaging and other types of “quick” communication, the rate of snail mail is gradually decreasing and under attack.
Ever since I was young, my mom has influenced me to write to others. I remember observing her as she was writing a thank-you card one day and wanting to write one myself. I thought the whole idea of it was fun and creative- I mean, who wouldn’t want to make people happy with sincere letters in their mailbox?
The real question is… how are handwritten letters different from e-mail messages, text messages, and other types of communication many people use today?
First of all, handwritten letters are sincere. They require time.
For me, I like to make my own stationery which can take more time than I account for. After the writing portion is done, you have to seal it in a stamped-envelope, and wait for the recipient to receive the letter.
In addition, handwritten letters are formal and concrete. You are more likely to pay sharp attention to grammatical use and mechanics when writing on paper and brainstorming on how to present the letter.
My favorite characteristic of the handwritten letter however, is the fact that you are able to keep, store, and cherish the letters you receive.
You cannot do this with text messages, instant messages, and e-mail messages viewed through a computer or phone screen.
In my Inquiry and the Craft of Argument course, I wrote a 14-page research paper on why handwritten letters instill lessons of permanence, ownership, and appreciation that other types of communication cannot always achieve.
I found many research studies done pertaining to my topic and it was rewarding to see that many provided reasons as to why handwritten letters are as great as I think they are.
Since my freshman year of college, I have kept in touch with many high school friends, teachers, and relatives through handwritten letters. I encourage young adults as well as teens to experiment with writing letters. It will change your perspective on many things and make you feel appreciated, humble, and bold.
Sometimes at the end of a difficult day, I like to read over letters I have received in the past from my bin of letters addressed to me. “Snail mail” is truly a rewarding and admirable source of communication that I hope to take to heart for the rest of my life.
So what are you waiting for? Pick up a pen. Write your thoughts. Make someone’s day a little brighter.