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15 Reasons Snail Mail Is Better- Bring Back The Letter!

Updated on May 14, 2015
Blast From The Past?
Blast From The Past?

Do you correspond in Writing? Real, actual letters?

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We regularly walk past those red things on the street don't we? They have become a nostalgic reference to the past, much like phone boxes that are valuable nowadays simply for art's purpose. It's amazing how an every day object has now become almost derelict. A service which was relied upon so heavily a decade ago is now almost useless.

In this speedy world of email and instant messaging, there is little time to write a letter, and anticipate a response. In a world of constant connection to social media and alerts from a stream of which friends are going to which event, it seems like people really don't have much to write home about, literally.

Even so, I would like to attempt to persuade you to do just that. Write home. Or to an aunt. Or an old friend. Or even a new friend. Just embrace your penmanship, sloppy though it may be, and write a letter!

Even if you think it's pointless.

Even if you think email is better because it's faster, or more eco friendly or whatever the case may be.

Just read on and let me persuade you.

1- It's Personal

You can write lots of uninterrupted thoughts when sending a letter that you perhaps couldn’t express while on IM or on a phone call. You can convey your emotions more effectively in a hand written letter. All too often someone will say something that takes you away from your train of thought, and you forget to say it, or worse, you lose your nerve!

2- It Takes A Bit of Thought.

All too often, we say things in day to day conversation that we perhaps didn’t intend to. Or, they are taken in a different context to which they were intended. With writing, as it is difficult to perceive a certain tone, ie sarcasm in writing, you are more likely to think about the points that you want to make, and ensure these are highlighted effectively. You are also less likely to inadvertently ramble onto another train of thought, so the letter will remain more focused.

3- Love Letters…

... Sounds so much better than love e-mails, don't they?

Can't exactly seal an email with a kiss. Ok, you could, but you would look a little strange kissing your screen...

4- Little Gifts

You can place a small gift or keepsake in the envelope. It can really be anything that can fit into the envelope. A photo, a feather, a bracelet- absolutely anything. This can be particularly heartwarming when sending a little something from your child, such as a drawing or hair clipping to a relative who lives a bit farther.

5- Actual Card Vs E-card

An actual card is better than an e-card in so many ways. An actual card has been chosen specifically for the recipient, and has been done at least somewhat in advance.

An e-card is free, and can be found online in a few seconds and sent without second thought. e-cards are also more likely to be ignored as opposed to an actual birthday card on the doorstep.

The recipient of an actual card will feel all warm and fuzzy that you remembered, and weren't just prompted for a birthday greeting by a reminder on Facebook.

6- Spending Time Effectively

It takes time to write a letter, but again can be done at any time. If you are on a break at work or even have a spare 5 minutes before bed, you can compose part of your letter. However, if you were trying to send a txt or make a phonecall, those hours may not be ideal for the recipient. A letter is convenient for both the writer and recipient as can be written and read at leisure.

7- You Are Making An Effort

A letter shows that the person is worth the effort. It’s more exclusive than a profile update or experience shared online. Taking the time to write about what is happening in your life can show the recipient that you still think of them fondly, while still moving on with your life as usual.

8- It's Not A Bill!

I don't know about anyone else, but all too often, my mail consists of payment requests and utility bills. It is extremely refreshing whenever I see a nice, hand written envelope in script that I recognise and I always look forward to tearing that envelope open!

9- Leisurely Conversation

It allows time to pass between responses. With Facebook, we know what people have had for dinner, what TV shows they have watched and when their anniversary is. It means that when it comes to actual conversation or emails, there seems little point in going over the pleasantries, as these have already been disclosed online.

When you actually allow time between letters- even just the time it takes to be received and write a reply- you will find that you have much more to write about than you ever would have on a daily instant message. I actually now find myself holding off putting something on Facebook, so that I can write to my friend and tell her first!

10- Making Memories

Letters can be used as keepsakes and provide memories. They can be cherished in years to come, particularly if you have lost contact with the person or they have passed away. This may seem a little morbid, but it can provide great comfort re-reading words of support and care from a loved one.

11- Nurturing Relationships

If a friend moves miles away, it can be all too easy to lose touch with them, and feel like you are no longer as close as you were previously. But distance need not be an obstacle. By making the effort, taking the time and confiding in your friend in writing you can maintain your friendship.

Letters can also rekindle relationships. Think about it. Long lost relatives, friends, lovers can all be contacted, and you can easily start rebuilding your friendship one letter at a time.

12- Post From Around The Globe

You can send a postcard or letter from anywhere in the world- no need for a wifi connection. This also allows the recipient to travel with you in a way, as they share your experiences and memories of your stays from small, intimate updates.

13- Collectables?

It can provide the basis of a collection and hobby. Postcards can be collected. As can stamps. Your letters could inspire the start of a whole new obsession for the recipient.

14- Provide Support

They can give a boost of morale to those who may need it. Writing to those in the military for example can provide a great surge of encouragement and keep them focused... Writing to someone in an isolated village could give them a taste of what lies out with their walls... Writing to someone who is in quarantine with a medical condition could give them a social outlet that isn't doctors and nurses...

15- Stationary!!!!!!

Stationary is fun. That may be the geek in me talking, but I love to buy a new writing set or some nice writing pens. Nice envelopes or notepaper! I LOVE stationary! If there was no one to write to, how would I ever justify those purchases!

I Love Stationary!
I Love Stationary!

© 2015 Lynsey Harte

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    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 13 months ago from Glasgow

      Hi Mel, Thanks for your comment, and I agree. Hackers are getting so much smarter and technology takes a while to catch up! However, in this country at least, a lot of letters seem to go astray, so I would hate to think what would possibly happen if you sent cash or anything like that!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 13 months ago from San Diego California

      As a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service, you are preaching to the choir! You might also add that, in today's computer-centric world, hackers are growing ever more efficient at stealing people's personal information online. A snail-mailed bill might actually safer. Some states in the US are even requiring people to send in their tax returns via the tried and true mail. Great hub!

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 20 months ago from Glasgow

      Hi Geri, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I am glad there are others out there who appreciate the sentiment. I have a lot of people (my partner included) who are of the opinion that email is best because it's quicker. It's due to those people that I had to write this hub. I hope I can change their opinions, while simultaneously letting others like myself know that we aren't the only ones out there who are keeping good old fashioned letters alive!

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 20 months ago from Glasgow

      Hi Jodah, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I, too, always carry a notebook, and the majority of my hubs and blog posts start life as some notes, then a draft in writing.

      I also have a hub about whether facebook and emails really help relationships, so I guess that kind of ties in here too.

      I really love actual cards and letters, and there is nothing better than a non-bill in the mail! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, and I hope it has inspired you to get in touch with some penfriends!

    • gerimcclym profile image

      Geri McClymont 20 months ago

      I enjoyed reading your article and agree with your thoughts. I don't think that any electronic mode of communication (email, text, etc.) can replace the personal touch of a handwritten card or letter. I know how much I love receiving a card through "snail mail" and so still try to send cards out to loved ones that way. Thank you for writing this article. It sends an important message in an age of instant, electronic communication.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Sparkley, I enjoyed this hub. I used to write a lot of letters and had many penfriends around the world. penmanship is something I have always had an interest in and often made my own cards and messages in calligraphy. You can't do that on email other than choosing fancy fonts but that is not the same. Now that email, Facebook, and text message etc are the main ways of communicating many people are sacrificing their skill in handwriting from not enough practice.

      I do all my writing by hand in journals and notebooks before transferring to computer, just to keep my hand in. I also love it if I get a handwritten letter in the mail instead of bills and junk mail. Well written hub.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 2 years ago from Glasgow

      I agree Larry! Often you have to think about how to do something on a particular program that would take you 2 mins with a pen and paper! :)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great read!

      I find myself on the fence concerning technology. Yes, it has the potential to be useful, but so often it is just annoying.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      You are welcome. I also hope you are able to encourage more people to start writing letters.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 2 years ago from Glasgow

      @julie, thanks for visiting. I'm hoping it encourages more people to start writing again. Glad to see there are more like myself out there.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      Bravo. I enjoyed this hub greatly. I like your reasons for encouraging people to write letters. If I didn't already participate in this practice, I would be tempted to start. Voted up.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 2 years ago from Glasgow

      @Kevin I'm not particularly concerned about the space aspect. I deffo don't ever save emails, or burn them onto disc. I don't actually burn anything onto disc- probably should for backups etc.

      Plus, it would be a bit ridiculous to save convos on facebook etc. There would be a LOT of pointless chat, and a letter takes more thought, as I have went over above. Again, I'm not trying to convince you, you can stick to your boxes of discs. I think the 15 reasons speak for themselves, and I won't bother to repeat any of the sentiments to reiterate a point :)

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      sparkleyfinger,

      Aaaah, but not all people are interested - or concerned - with saving the earth. One CD of saved emails may equal a box - or more - of paper letters. Less space, less waste. I recycle at home too.

      DzyMsLizzy,

      We can try to replace the current power plants but I am talking about not adding new ones to the old ones. They are creating electricity for new "unsold" office buildings and homes every minute, whether they put up the factories or not. People do not feel like taking time to make the paper from the other recycled items. Besides, more factories to do that?

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 2 years ago from Glasgow

      @ Kevin- I admit that the paper aspect may concern some people, however I think the positives far outweigh the negatives. I was actually going to try to write a pro and con list for emails vs letters, but i honestly only found maybe 5 pros for emails, and one of those was eco- friendliness. If it helps, I recycle at home and I actually keep all of my letters- they are in a box, bundled up for me to enjoy later. I am also paperless for bills and statements, so that reduces the impact, its just really personal letters I refer to in this hub. I appreciate your time to read my hub and comment.

      Also, thanks @Lizzy for your response to this. Very true, that the resources will be used up anyway. Unless we all go without electricity/ water and food and revert to living in a camp with a vege garden... then no-one is going to have emails anyway! :) Great point.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 2 years ago from Glasgow

      @DyzyMsLizzy, I admit I done the same for a long while, and was mainly using facebook/ msn etc to communicate. But I actually started writing to a penpal I found in a craft magazine, and have taken it from there. I think it is really nice to have decent mail.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 2 years ago from Glasgow

      @wheelinalover, it's nice that those letters from your father brought you comfort, and I can only hope you have other cherished momentos and I'm sure you have plenty of memories of your son to help you through. x

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      @ Kevin: What about the power plants burning fossil fuels or coal, or damming up rivers to provide the electricity to run all the computers? What's the difference? I agree, trees need saving, but paper can be made from recycled items, from rags to post-consumer paper. We all use resources to live, no matter what. Unless we want to go back to being cave-dwellers...

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      What about all of the trees, factories and workers that are needed to make the paper? Removing the trees and putting out the black factory smoke after the trees are gone uses up oxygen.

      Kevin

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I used to write real letters all the time. At one time, I had quite a number of pen pals around the world.

      However, life got busy; the internet expanded, and my penmanship suffered. Also, my patience thinned, as so many other ceased responding, and found e-mail or Face Book, and I lost touch. It is frustrating to write letters and get no reply. At least on Face Book, there is a nearly instantaneous response, and if not, you can fall back on e-mail.

      It is sad, though, to find only bills and advertising circulars in the postal mail. I kind of wish I could go back to the old ways and days, but many, many more people would need to travel back with me to make it work.

      Voted up +++ and shared.

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 2 years ago from Central United States

      After my father died I found every letter he had sent his mother when he was serving in China during world war two. These had been precious reminders to her of the freedom she enjoyed and her son.

      I had planned to pass these on to my son. Somehow I never got around to it. As of now when I am gone they will have no more value. My son isn't alive to enjoy them. Sadly my son embraced electronic mails so there are written memories.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 2 years ago from Glasgow

      Sea mail seems like a great idea also, Janderson! Silly question- do you give your address for replies in the letter, or just keep checking the beach? I'd definitely try it if I was closer to the sea! Baby I, I also get stiff hands when writing letters, but maybe I should just learn not to send novels lol. Thanks for the visit, and glad you liked the hub! #BringBackSnailMail

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 2 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Sea mail does sound like a fun thing to do janderson lol. Have never tried it but love the idea of it. Plenty of water here in AK. I still like to write letters by hand. My hands get a little stiff at times but the fingers warm up after a while. janderson, what kind of ink do you use? Or do you use regular ballpoint pens? Nice hub, sparkleyfinger.

    • janderson99 profile image

      Dr. John Anderson 2 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

      I prefer sea mail - messages in bottles. Fun thing to do. So far I have had one or more replies from every batch sent (4 so far). I posted 10 last week and another 5 today. Keep a look out for them. Cheers!