Give me a ticket for an airplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone
I’m goin’ home
My baby just wrote me a letter.
~Wayne Carson Thompson (The BoxTops, The Letter)
Email opens up our world, in space and time. We can reach almost anywhere, for minimal cost (assuming community computers and phones in less ‘developed’ areas). We can share ideas as quickly as we can type (or speak into our cell phones) and hit ‘send.’ We can reply if we are awake late at night or early in the morning and not disturb the receiver. Our friend can take time, cogitate on an answer, and respond when ready.
Email lacks additional senses we derive from a written letter – expression in handwriting, tactile stimulation of paper, and surprise in the stamp chosen. We can’t archive email as well for future generations; it won’t show up in a shoebox in the attic. But it provides the human connection that adds meaning.
Informal, structured. Immediate, anticipated. Spontaneous, edited. Unique to humans?
What is your favorite form of communication?