I receive around 20 emails a day. I hit delete for most.
While studying letter writing in school, I often used to wonder, is letter writing relevant any more? I mean, who sends snail mail? Isn't it much more convenient to write an email?
Fast forward to a few days ago... I received a note, not really a letter, from a friend, whom I had the pleasure to know for over three months. The pleasure of reading the note really changed my perception about the composition exercise learnt in school.
So, what is it that a handwritten letter has which email lacks? Maybe it is the personal touch, the realization that a person has written the letter, and that it has not been written by a computer. Handwriting just happens to add a personal touch which the cold hard sans-serif font of email just cannot capture.
I also think that handwritten letters take time and effort into composition. This means that they generally have a better content than email, which is often written casually, in a hurry with little time to think about the content. Further, the time between writing a letter and posting it allows some more time for the writer to think about the contents of the letter. In contrast, GMail offers me at most 10 seconds to rethink about sending that email.
What I liked most about receiving the note from my friend was the thought that he really cared enough to write it. I am quite sure that if he had typed the same content or sent me an email with the same words, I would have just given it a glance, and maybe hit archive or delete. I don't think I would have read and re-read it many times over.
Maybe, as an exercise, we should write a letter to those that matter most to us, and send it by post. Doing so could just reinvent the personal touch in long distance relationships.