The Glass Half Full: Letter writing creates meaning in digital age

As society continues to rely on technology, gone are the days of handwritten letters and notes. We find ourselves trading in our quills for pens and our pens for keyboards.


A culture of instant gratification has deemed meaningful interactions as unnecessary and outdated when conversations can now occur with the typing of keys and pressing of buttons.
When I was younger, my best friend moved away across the country. At the time we were too young for cell phones and social media, so we turned to a classic, seemingly prehistoric, form of communication, letter writing.
Our conversations consisted of the trivial day-to-day goings of elementary schoolers.
However, it was never really what the letters said that was so important to me.
I didn’t run out to the mailbox everyday after school to read the eloquent inscriptions of my 10-year-old best friend.
No, for me, it was simply enough to know that someone had taken the time to collect and write down their thoughts on pretty stationary, just for me.
My name written in ink at the top of the page made me feel special. And yet this correspondence only lasted a year. Why? What changed?
We both got busy. Weekly correspondence stretched to monthly and then monthly faded into nothing at all.
Access to cell phones and social media provided a fast and easy way to reach friends.
It was no longer necessary to check the mailbox day after day hoping to find a pretty yellow letter addressed with my name.
We soon made the switch from letters to texts and then texts to Snapchats.
However the alleged benefits of texting and Snapchat, like instant replies, were not what they seemed.
Impersonal, surface level interactions took the place of meaningful interaction.
The introspection needed to gather one’s thoughts to compile in a letter was gone.
Gone was the feeling of personalization, of feeling special. A text message never had the same significance as a handwritten note.
But what is the solution? Returning to a paper world in the age of technology is unrealistic. It is impossible to undo progress.
Instead, it is important to find meaning and value in every interaction online.
Take advantage of what technology has to offer.
While there are drawbacks of texting and social media platforms, it is impossible to ignore the benefits that this technology brings to our lives.
Millions of people are now accessible with the click of a button.
Use your resources to find friends with whom you have lost touch.
Send them a text, or even a letter. The commonality between all these mediums of communication is human connection.
As human beings we crave connection and love.
We want to know that there are people experiencing the same things we are experiencing.
We want our feelings to be shared and validated.