For the full challenge click here.
It may surprise some to learn that the modern internet based email system was only invented in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson (a bit of trivia for you). Today it is mainly taken for granted, with people surgically attached to their blackberry or I-phone, constantly checking their various email accounts. Even on weekends you cannot escape the world of work as your fingers are itching to log onto messenger despite knowing you might not like what’s there. Customer/client complaints; the boss sending the usual high-handed demanding directions; pushy family member you’d rather avoid; Amazon with their new deals; a reminder that your eye test is overdue because you keep postponing or cancelling appointments etc. To make matters worse, some emails can no longer be ignored as the sender is informed once the recipient has seen it.
Email has forced us into social beings. No longer can we hide away from the world for a few days, wireless internet ensures you are shadowed by your accounts. Of course, you may choose not to use email, but then it seems you don’t exist. Lots of people will invite friends or family out via email, rather than ringing everyone up individually. Quickly type the place, the time and instructions to reply asap, press send and done. It’s the work of a moment.
No, email has become essential to many in the western world, letters are obsolete, phone calls are arduous and prolonged, whereas emails are quick, simple and cheap. No contest, right?
With the age of email, social media and technology no one sends letters anymore. Remember the time when you anticipated letters and got excited whenever one arrived addressed to you? Now all you get through the post are bills and junk mail, advertising or asking for money.
When I was on staff at Peak 2010 my friends and I shared a campsite with some guides/rangers from Hong Kong and although we exchanged email addresses and added each other on Facebook, exchanging one or two letters or postcards a year is more rewarding. Sometimes the old-fashioned methods of communication are the best. The crisp, neatly folded paper tucked into an envelope with your address handwritten on the back. The thrill and as your eyes are immediately drawn to the bottom to see who would send such a precious, caring gift, then the gentle thrum of happiness as you compose a reply in your very best handwriting and finally the satisfaction as the letter drops into the post-box ready to begin it’s journey.
Today I was thinking wouldn’t it be nice if there were more opportunities to create connections like this. Blogging may create connections between nations but there’s nothing better than the sheer joy of receiving an international message in a metaphorical bottle courtesy of the royal mail.
For some great message-in-a-bottle stories check out: http://blogs.static.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/36541.html (where my picture came from)
So here’s a challenge for you, this week send someone a proper letter – on fancy paper and everything. You never know, you may just get one back. Or, if you happen to be by the sea why not actually send a message in a literal bottle? 😀