When was the last time you received a hand written letter? Think about it. Not an email or an electronic invitation to an event. Someone actually sat down and took more than 5 minutes to write a thoughtful letter to you. I remember after my grandmother passed away, we went over to her apartment to clean up and box the rest of her belongings. I was amazed when I opened one of her closets and found mounds of boxes upon boxes of hand written letters that she saved (yes she was a bit of a pack rat). She served in the army, at that time called the WAC (Women’s Army Core), so hard written letters were the only form of communication to home at the time. My grandma had letters dating back to the 1960s from family members, people she met in the army, and friends from her childhood. I remember sitting down for a long time after finding all of these letter and reading through stacks of them. Some letters were a few paragraphs while others contained pages and pages of words. There were letters explaining births, marriages, special events, deaths, and the actions of everyday life. My grandma loved reading letters because they allowed her to remember fond people and the memories that they shared together. I was sad thinking about how no one in my generation has the need to write a letter to someone because of the inventions of the internet and cell phones. Instead of having stacks of letters, we now have 1,000+ emails sitting in our digital inbox.
Don’t get me wrong, I think email is a great invention that is much needed in our high tech society. I can still remember the dial up AOL internet and the sound of “You Got Mail” erupting from the speakers of the computer. The same rush that people now get from receiving a text message was felt when people received emails in the 90s. People use their email for a variety of different reasons from conducting business to keeping in touch with family members to receiving online shopping deals. I check my email multiple times a day because of the important emails I receive from my professors, coach, teammates, bosses, and campus wide emails. Smartphones have made checking email so much more convenient since emails go right to you phone. I had a simple phone before I got my iPhone and I remember feeling out of the loop because I could not check my email whenever I wanted.
If servers did crashed and email was not available, the world would move a lot slower. People would have to pick up the phone to call people farther away, walk upstairs in their office building to get feedback on a project or even have to teach themselves how to send letters again. Business would be a lot less efficient, information would not spread as quickly, and people would be forced to pick up the phone instead of sending a quick email. Email is a very quick way to get in touch with someone if you have to write a long message with a lot of detail. It takes a lot longer to sit down and hand write a letter than it is to type out an email on a computer screen. Business is largely conducted through emails to approve projects, set up meetings and ask other coworkers for information or feedback. The world we live in is digitalized and the use of email has helped increase the speed of the world. People could live without email, but they would not be as efficient or productive as they would be with email.