While letters are still used today -- mostly by companies wanting us to sign up for credit cards or enroll in some form of membership with them -- it's become somewhat outdated as far as communications between friends and family are concerned. And the same can be said for making phone calls.
That's thanks largely to the advent and ubiquity of texting and social media.
If you're like me, you probably receive congratulations for promotions and other achievements -- not to mention holiday and birthday wishes, condolences, and so forth -via text or Facebook, even from your closest friends.
Sure, we all know a couple of people who might still call or pay a visit -- the "old school" set -- but it's become increasingly rare.
There's no question that texting and social media are convenient (and fairly cheap) methods of staying in touch with people, especially those who don't exactly live around the corner.
In my view, though, digital communication doesn't substitute for face-to-face encounters.
Nothing strengthens a relationship like seeing and interacting with someone in person -- being able to hug, kiss, and observe the individual in the flesh.
There's a certain coldness and impersonality to chatting digitally. While emojis and emoticons can enliven the conversation, you still have to contend with other factors:
- The person may fail to respond because he or she got busy or distracted, but they neglected to tell you
- There's a tendency to misconstrue someone's tone or message
- Most people are disinclined to write a lot, so they're likely to be more terse in a text message or Facebook post than they'd be in person or via phone call
To a certain degree, writing a letter or making a phone call can seem more thoughtful. It gives the impression that the person is dropping what they're doing and taking the time to do these things, as opposed to a text or Facebook message, which can be done on the fly.
It's important to show friends and loved ones we care about that we're thinking of them. While texting and Facebook might be the easiest, most convenient ways to do it, we can go a step further by penning a heartfelt letter, giving them a call, or paying them a visit.
I definitely think it would help us stand out given that texting and social media are the de facto forms of communicating in 2016.