Social media, the death of the letter

Updated: Aug 24, 2019

It's all the rage these days to have your whole life covering the millions upon millions of pages of the Internet but for me, I like to keep things simple, manageable and I just don't feel I need to broadcast everything at least 10 times over just for people to take notice. If people want to read what you write or see photos of what you have eaten for breakfast that day then they will ask. Long gone are the days where people used to sit down and think about what they would write before sharing it with others. The words that people would pen down onto the sheet of paper that lay before them, it's all gone now and it's all typing and thoughtless words thrown out there for all to see. The only problem with it is that once you put yourself out there everything you say or do online will always be out there, unlike with a letter, communication has become less delicate, less meaningful. The thing I love about handwritten letters is that it takes time to put your thoughts on paper, when you have a pen in hand you really think about what it is you want to say. Knowing that over time the ink will fade and the paper will wrinkle and tear is really kind of beautiful, very reflective of life itself in the fact that when we age, we also get wrinkles, we can be torn but even though we have aged significantly our words still, though very faded have so much of a story to tell. A story that can be stored away in a box and treasured ready for the next generation to read, not hidden away in some far corner of the Internet. With letters you can see the effort that the sender has taken to write the letter, the errors they tried to correct to get it just right, I particularly enjoy some of the little cartoons people used to draw on the bottom of their letters to give them that personal touch. You cant do that with social media sites, add a personal touch, it's just, cold letters on a blank screen that you can erase without any sign of a mistake. There is no personal touch to it, sure you can attach those little emoticons to an email or comment with very little effort but it's not the same. When I was younger I used to get so excited when the post would come and it would be a letter from my pen pal that I started writing to when I was in school. We kept in touch way through our high school years when it happened. The last letter I received from my pen pal was to let me know how excited she was that her parents had bought her a computer and that she would talk to me via Facebook but she never did, after that, the letters stopped coming. Nowadays I can't even remember her name it's been so long since I got any word from her, I guess she got caught up in the hype that is social media and thought that writing a letter just wasn't worth the effort. The only thing that sat in our post box when the postman came was bills. When Allen and I first met we would write letters to each other, poems, send photos and write all our feelings out on paper. It would take days for the letters to arrive but it was worth it. There is something utterly fulfilling about opening a letter handwritten by another person. Our letters that Allen and I exchanged, I still have today, they are treasured memories. Memories that still brings a smile to my face when I read them. These letters have more value to me that any instant message on a social media site could ever have. Today these letters are stored away in their own little box that I can pull out and share with the future generations of the family that we begin together. I only hope that our children will be able to see the beauty there is in writing a handwritten letter. Handwriting a letter is a dying art, technology is completely taking over all that was once meaningful in life. why? because it's faster and easier. I sometimes sit and think to myself, is this where the human race is heading, will we in the future just end up communicating in this primitive code speak. For many, it is easier to shorten whole sentences into a few mere letters, rather than use whole words. Words from a language that has taken thousands of years to evolve into the language that we know today as English. Will it too end up on the list of dead languages that no one uses anymore, much like that of Latin? Everything these days is about convenience and making things less work for ourselves. Besides that, a lot of what I see on these social media sites is the same stories just rehashed and reposted, most of which are uninteresting, to begin with. Things such as people posting pics of their half-naked bodies or fully naked in some cases, their breakfast, their new car, who they are kissing this month, scandals and relationship drama, to me none of that is the least bit interesting but some people really lap it up, thus causing the post to be reposted again over and over across multiple sites. I feel like to plaster the same thing across multiple sites is like trying to be that guy who wears the advertisement sign, you know that guy that cuts in front of you and says 'Hey you should look at this' and when you try to step around him he blocks you and repeats himself. I do not want to be that guy, it should be people's choice to come and see what I am trying to show or tell people, not me trying to jam it down people's throats. There are so many sites out there for people to advertise every bit of their daily lives that it is so hard to keep track of. I think these people with twenty or so different social media accounts must be paying people to manage their accounts for them otherwise they would go into social media overload. I think by that stage though if you're not running your own account it defeats the purpose of having a social media account at all. I myself have only two social media accounts, Twitter, Google plus(because it came with my YouTube account, I had no choice), I'm looking at making a Facebook but still undecided. If I do though that's where I stop, at the lovely number three(3) and I plan to keep it that way. I'm not saying that I dislike social media, I quite enjoy it, it can be quite entertaining at times, convenient and sure it makes things easier, but there is no balance. Very few people put any thought into what they post on social media sites and it's hard to take much of anything seriously. It takes just a few minutes to construct a post and one wrong word can be so misconstrued and twisted around. For some people, social media is either the best thing ever and for others, it's social suicide if people post something that the rest of the world doesn't tend to agree with. So yes I use social media sites but I also still write with pen and paper, not so much to other people but I keep a book and write down my thoughts and interesting things that occur, not all of which I feel really needs to be shared with the entire world. I like writing and no matter how much technology advances I refuse to completely stop using a pen and paper. For those of you who say, oh 'think of all the trees they are cutting down on your paper', well I have already thought of that, I only buy notepads that are made from recycled paper, hemp, bamboo, paper that has been sustainably sourced, which will then have sustainable initiative logos on them. Some that I have recently seen on notepads I have bought are: There are so many more companies out there that produce sustainable paper. So I'm not writing on a thousand-year-old tree that shouldn't have been cut down, I'm writing on one that was grown specifically for being turned into paper products and has a very little impact to the environment. I do care about the environment and think responsibly when it comes to being able to jot things down on paper. So with that in mind, here is my challenge to the people young and old out there, write a letter to a family member or friend using a pen and paper. It is not as hard as you think and so much more rewarding :)

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