Thursday, September 10, 2009
Save the post office!
I'm just curious. How many people think that the U.S. Postal Service is really in trouble because people are writing emails and texting more than they are sending old-fashioned cards and letters? I have heard this and have a feeling that it might be true, though it would seem that junk mail alone would keep it functioning. My mail box is more full of the stuff than ever! :)
Of course, when it comes to packages, the post office cannot compete with Fed-Ex or UPS. So, that is another source of lost revenue for our letter service.
Though I love email, Facebook, phone texting, and other systems of instant communication, I don't think that they replace the wonderful feeling of receiving a hand written letter. Do you? And, somehow for me, e-cards don't replace real cards that you can hold in your hand and store away to savor on a later date. That is, e-cards don't seem as meaningful when it comes to my closest friends and family. I do think they are a lovely way to communicate with people whom you don't see as often, but whom you really do wish to remember with special greetings.
Also, it seems that feelings can somehow be communicated with more accuracy in a hand written letter than via email. I know of several cases of hurt feelings caused by misinterpreting email, while I have heard of very few instances of this with snail correspondence. I wonder if that has to do with the quickness of email conversations, where the written word flies back and forth quickly, without the usual conversational cues we glean from tone of voice and facial expressions. When this happens so rapidly, perhaps, it is easier for emotions to escalate.
In letter writing, we don't have those extra conversational clues, either. However, I think that people probably put more effort into writing a snail mail letter than in dashing off an email. Also, the person who receives a written letter probably takes more time to read it thoroughly.
Whatever the case may be, I truly do hope that we will continue to be able to send letters and cards via the post office. The p. o. has been in trouble before, so this wouldn't be the first time it has pulled out of a crises -- if it does. I know I'm going to do my part by sending cards and letters when appropriate. I'd also actually like to have an old-fashioned pen pal, though I suppose that our instant forms of communication does meet that desire in part.
What about you? How often do you send snail-mail letters and cards? Do you think it's important to do so, or is that something you can easily live without? Does it seem strange to send a written letter to someone whom you regularly email, even if they live out of town? Or, do you like to do that once in a while just to add another dimension to your friendship? If you live in another country than the U.S., how is your postal service faring?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!