Letter Writing in the Digital Age

It is easy to breeze through writing an e-mail, especially if you write them often at work.  They accumulate so quickly that the next thing you know you’re typing them out like text messages.  We forget that the reader arrives at the e-mail from somewhere else, unlike ourselves who’ve had time to sit down and think about the subject as we write.

It is due to the breezy, mistake-ridden e-mails that I become so excited to receive an e-mail addressed to me. “Dear Kirsty,”  So too do I feel excited when they are signed.  “Best,” “Love,” “Looking forward to seeing you,” “All My Best”  I feel like someone has set out to tell me something, has sat down with intention.  Has thought about Me.

With the ease of communication these days a thought towards me is like a breath of fresh air.  It is beyond polite; it takes effort to write an e-mail with intention.  Politeness is obligatory, a good e-mail makes a statement.  With the slow extinction of the letter it is more than easy to replace it with something less formal, something faster, something simply “easier.”  But what is better is to replace it with something in kind.  We must truly replace the letter with e-mail and remember to keep them polite, considerate, and thoughtful.

So, please, next time you send me an email, address it.  Include a relevant subject.  Sign it.  The only exception to the rule is you best friend, you mother, and you boyfriend.  Their e-mails are often continuations of previous conversations, and not new trains of thought.

p.s.  And 20-somethings?  We have a terrible reputation to live up to.  A hereby declare polite e-mails obligatory.

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