Monday, March 1, 2010

Put it in a Letter

Question. What is the one word that everyone loves to hear? Take some time. Think about it. Repeat the question.

What do you think? I know when I was first asked this question I instinctively thought it was the word “yes” - a successful word, a word that gives, and a word that creates happiness. But, the answer is much simpler than that.

The word is your name. I don’t know about you, but when I hear my name something happens. I can only describe it as my “insides shoot up”. Some sensor goes off in my head and I respond by being alert. I have been conditioned since birth to respond to a name.

Now think about this. Marshall McLuhan says, “the medium is the message”. This means that different mediums or methods of communication carry different meanings in their messages.

I am going to assume that by now we all have some form of email. Some are for school, others for work, and we can't forget our personal inbox. Some of us have even more and all are attached to your name. I respond to my written name differently when I see it in an email.

Was there ever a time when you didn’t respond to an email? If your answer is no than you are the person I aspire to be. But, if your answer is yes, ask yourself this question. Would you ever not respond to someone who was actually calling your name in person? Of course not.

Something about emails is starting wear me down. I can’t keep up with the crazy onslaught of information. I often disregard junk emails that somehow landed in my inbox.

I want my old mail back. Bring back the day when I used to wait for the mailman. Give me the special key with the post symbol on it and the suspense of opening the mailbox. There is something in a letter. You have to buy a stamp, write out the address, and finally put something in the envelope. When your done, you drop it in a box and some magical person comes and takes it to where you need it to go. The further the distance traveled the cooler the item inside.

Being away at school this year most of my letters have come in the form of “care packages”. These are the best letters of all. I could settle for a life filled with an email supply of letters and care packages.

But, you don’t have to be far away from someone to send them a letter. I say, bring back the letter!

I began with a question. The answer to that question was your name. All letters are addressed to one person whose name you have attached. You (as the mail sender) took the time to search out that person and send them this letter. Something tells me that receiving and sending physical letters might be the most caring form of communication of all.

1 comment:

Nickname unavailable said...


This blog post is one of my favourites. It seems like electronic mediums (email, facebook, twitter) have devalued communication.

When I receive a letter, a card or a package in the mail, I always respond with a thank-you card. However, when I receive an email with the same well wishes, I completely ignore the sender.

Your post has shed some light on my daily communication practices. From now on, I will try and respond to all queries, even those in my "junk" folder.