Last week Oxford University neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield was discussing the death of the letter. Emails did a good job of wiping it out, or starting the trend, and social media is helping finish it off for good. Why send that yearly catch-up in handwritten ink when you can keep tabs on your loved ones online? Baroness Greenfield says soon kids won’t have any concept of why we would even hand write a letter to begin with, let alone send one. And let’s face it, she’s kind of right…
“When I moved from Melbourne to the country a few months ago, I vowed I would write more handwritten letters. Free from the distractions of friends, family and Chadstone shopping centre, I thought a stint in the country would give me more time for the more simple things in life; I’d bake scones after work, learn to knit, star gaze at night and write letters to the people I loved and missed.
Oh how wrong I was.
Life did slow down in the country, but Facebook did not. Nor did Twitter and nor did the online availability of Gossip Girl season four. And it didn’t take me long to realise that letters sent in the country are about as useful as they are in the city. Which is not at all. (And suffice to say the ornate paper, envelopes and 100-plus stamps I bought at the beginning of my step-back-in-time adventure, now lay idly in the bottom of my desk drawer.)
It’s been a while since I’ve written and sent a letter. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve received a letter that wasn’t a bill or a reminder from the blood bank. I used to be heavy into postcards, but nowadays I’m more inclined to whack up a Facebook status and hand deliver cards when I come home from a trip.
More and more, I’m seeing less and less handwritten notes in the mail. Post cards are drying up, and Christmas cards? Well, the mantelpiece is not a decked as it once was on Christmas Eve. Love letters have been outdone with YouTube tribute songs and letters of resignation are fast becoming superfluous with the right Facebook status.