The Demise of the Letter

It’s looking pretty certain now to me, that the use of post and in particular letters are in their death throes. We all of course know the reasons, there are quicker, more available and simpler ways of communicating your thoughts to someone else.  But the availaibility is not the only reason, the fact is that the demand on our time is also a significant factor.

We write letters in our leisure time and to be honest if you have a job and children that is probably one of the scarcest things going.  I often think of the lifestyle of the world great communicator – Socrates, someone who’s life was devoted to communication.  He spent most of his waking hours wandering the streets of Ancient Athens simply talking to people, well ok mostly arguing!  What he would have made of a world where you could send a message to thousands of people across the world instantly I’ve no idea.

I suspect that Socrates would have been rather disappointed though. In reality although the internet increases the scope and level of communication the evidence in my inbox seems to suggest that the quality is sufferring. It’s no big surprise to find that a note typed into a small smartphone whilst you’re stuffed into a cylinder under the City of London can’t really compete with a letter crafted onto paper whilst you relax with a glass of Burgundy in a chair on your back garden.

There is no time to remember, no time to contemplate when clicking buttons.  Writing a letter is a very human exercise, it’s slow and contemplative and perhaps one of the few ways to properly share a mood.  Have you ever tried writing an annoyed, cross or affectionate SMS or text?  I can assure you after critical analysis they alll pretty much end up the same.

Anyway my time here is up, it takes soooo long to write a blog post that nobody will ever read. The same time could have been spent sending 100 text message, a couple of YouTube videos or perhaps liking a thousands of Facebook pages. I forgot my title and subject about the demise of a letter, but I suggest that writing one may be a very worthwhile activity.

I’m going to end this post with a tip, at the moment I’m having a wonderful time in Italy, living and working on the beautiful Amalfi coast.  But I am English and I miss the news on the BBC terribly, however I discovered that you could watch it online – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/.  It’s not a recommendation and I offer no support or insight but in the quest for communication being able to watch the BBC News is something I’m sure Socrates would have approved of!!