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Friday, 28 May 2010

Does Snail Mail Have A Place?

SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 25:  Dozens of retired m...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Is there still  a place for Snail Mail?

The folks at CNN would have you believe that the tactile and personal nature of a handwritten letter will always have more of an emotional connection than its digital alternative.

They may be on to something, but the reality is that the volume of posted mail has declined dramatically and continues to do so. 

In Singapore the postal service has just stopped delivering in the weekends citing plummeting volumes of mail and this pattern is a global one.

In the States there are 10 billion less letters sent than there were 20 years ago -  that's a lot of paper and stamp revenue.

Physically writng a letter does provide more time for thought and it is true that email can be somewhat impersonal; the emotion in a handwritten letter is often easier to decipher.

There is also the vicarious thrill of opening the condo mail box to see if the postman has "left something".  More often than not the contents of the box reveal printed advertising circulars and even the power bills are now easier accessed and actioned online.

Then of course there is the mail that belongs to someone who occupied you apartment a millennium ago and has not notified the sender of their change of address.

At least with email you know that someone received it and opened it.  In a recent survey I conducted in East Asia the results confirmed that most respondents chose email as their first choice for receiving our communications.

There remains a nostalgia for the personally written word and a physical letter is a memento that has been touched by the hand that sent it. An email seems somewhat transitory by comparison.

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1 comment:

Peter Millward said...

One real advantage of snail mail?
There is no REPLY TO ALL button. One of the most damaging buttons around

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