Has email replaced writing letters?

@Stiletto (4584)
January 28, 2007 7:15am CST
Someone asked me the other day when the last time I sent someone a personal handwritten letter was and I couldn't remember! At a guess I would say probably about ten years ago. When was the last time you sat down and wrote someone a letter? I'm talking about personal correspondence - not for business purposes.
2 people like this
22 responses
• United States
28 Jan 07
Sometimes. I used to be really big into pen pals from all over the world, then it went to emailing and now its pretty much chatting. When we have less time, we send emails to keep each other updated. I still correspond via the post, but mostly to exchange postcards or little gifts that my friends and I send to each other. I think it has been at least 3 months since I sent out a 'real' letter. It takes at least 2 weeks to get from the USA to anywhere, whereas emails are instant. It's a sad fact, but I think its a dying art. I keep saying I'm going to sit down and write a proper letter, but it never gets done.
2 people like this
@Stiletto (4584)
28 Jan 07
Like you I used to have a lot of penpals but communication with them has changed to emails. Yes I'm afraid letter writing is a dying art - and it is an art! There's real skill involved in writing a good letter. Thanks for your response.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jan 07
How did you get your penpals from around the world in the first place? I have never had a penpal. I remember as a child, it was a very popular thing to do, but I never had one. I long for those old days sometimes.
1 person likes this
@Rahleah (187)
• United States
30 Jan 07
You are so right! I miss my pen pals. I even miss my e-pals from the early days of e-mailing. Perverts have taken the joy out of this, I'm afraid. There should be a web site that would weed through them and certify them for non-weirdness so we could all still interact safely.
@nuffsed (1273)
28 Jan 07
Fortunately not all our friends are online. Yes there are a few rebels still resisting the time thief that is the computer. So happily I can write a letter whenever the muse takes me and I wrote two yesterday, just to keep my hand in. lol I do enjoy a proper letter, and I know my friends do too.
@Stiletto (4584)
28 Jan 07
I can't remember the last time I received a proper letter. Email just isn't the same is it? Thanks for your response.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jan 07
There is nothing like getting a real letter in the mail. Think about it. The feel of a letter in your hands is so nice. It's a shame because even for the holidays, I noticed that not as many people are sending greeting cards. They are sending ecards. It doesn't have the same effect, does it?
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
The worst ever was when my ex sent me an ecard Valentine!!! He became an ex very soon after that.
• United States
28 Jan 07
I last wrote a letter a few months ago. Some friends and I have had this very discussion, and try to write letters to each other whenever possible simply because it has become something of a lost art. E-mails and text messages are faster, but they are deleted as soon as they're read. We risk becoming the first generation in history that will leave no written personal record, and I think that's a shame.
2 people like this
@Stiletto (4584)
28 Jan 07
That's true - think of how much historical knowledge we have gained from the letters that people wrote hundreds of years ago. In a hundred years time what personal records will people be able to look back on? It is a shame. Think I'll follow your example and start writing again! Thanks for your response.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Jan 07
I think what you said is very insightful. Think of history with no letters from famous writers, history makers, politicians, musicians, and other creative types. It's sad really. Not only that, but think of the letters from your friends and family that you have saved and look back on years later. I think that a lot more goes into thinking about what to put down on paper than what gets written via computer. We are a throw away society and now we are throwing away our words. Too sad.
• Portugal
28 Jan 07
You make the right question, I don´t write personal letters for many, many years. The last words I wrote was in a Christmas postcard to some friends/customers. We spend so much time in front of a PC, that email it´s easier and faster.
2 people like this
@Stiletto (4584)
28 Jan 07
I send postcards if I go away on holiday but it's just a standard few lines. Email is easier but I think it's not got the "personal touch" that a letter has. Thanks for your response.
1 person likes this
@ginny36 (267)
• United States
30 Jan 07
I love both writing and receiving print letters in the mail. But in spite of that, email has all but completely replaced the art of paper letter writing for me. Even though I love holding a letter in my hand and seeing the familiar handwriting of the writer as I read it, and on the flip side hearing my own pen scrawl across paper as I compose a letter, I've still given in to emailing instead of letter writing on all but rare and special occasions. The reason why - nothing more than laziness! Even if I do get around to writing a paper letter, it will sit on my table for several days before I got the extra step to get and address and envelope, find a stamp, and mail it. I rarely have these supplies on hand because I do almost all my bill baying online as well. With an email, I just write, hit send, and I'm done. I don't stumble across the email a week after I've written it, sitting there waiting for me to get my act together and ship it off. I worry that letter writing will become a lost art. I try to keep notes and letters to myself in a paper journal, at least, and enjoy that. When you write to yourself you don't have to mail anything!
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
30 Jan 07
It's definitely down to laziness with me as well - writing a letter just takes so much effort! Thanks for your response.
@Rahleah (187)
• United States
30 Jan 07
Yes, your comment made me think about the feeling you get when you "receive" a print letter in the mail. There's nothing quite like it. E-mail certainly doesn't make us feel that way. If anything, I think we get a little frustrated when we see that we have an e-mail.(It's usually just some stupid chain letter anyhow. "Do not break this or you will have bad luck in two hours!) I also like your idea of writing to yourself. You're right! No postage!
@Darkwing (21587)
29 Jan 07
I still write handwritten letters because I think they're appreciated so much more by the recipient. I also feel that something personal like that is so much better for your own satisfaction. I think the last letter I wrote was about a month ago, but I have a couple that I must write shortly, and will make plenty of time for them. Thank you for this discussion. I had to type my reply, but there ya go. You can't win them all!!! lol.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
Yes a handwritten letter is so much more personal and of course they can be kept and reread in the future. You just don't do that with emails. I would really appreciate a handwritten letter although not received one for years!
@Darkwing (21587)
30 Jan 07
No, I've only received one in the past three years, although I send them out. Strange that.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
31 Jan 07
I too can not remember, my penmanship is horrid because my hand tries to keep up with my mind. Type fast, people can read it, and everyone I know even my parents have e-mail. Ummm I wonder if my handwriting will improve as my mind slows down?
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
31 Jan 07
I used to have quite good handwriting until I learned shorthand - then it just became a scribble! Thanks for your response.
@patgalca (15910)
• Orangeville, Ontario
30 Jan 07
I do but in a good way. I remember as a kid writing letters back and forth with my Grandma. I loved getting her letters. I still would like to see some letters in the mailbox. My mother still writes letters (she just got a computer hooked up to the internet in her house but will only use it when one of us kids is there with her to check her emails). I received a letter from my mother today responding to a poem I wrote about her and sent to her via mail. I would have liked to have emailed it to her but didn't know WHEN she would see it. However, with the internet I think people stay in touch a lot more. They can email each other every day. Not to mention the fact that it pretty well costs nothing. This was the first year I did not send Christmas cards because postage was just too darned expensive. I rarely IM. I join a chat on a writing board every Saturday night and sometimes I just get lost with so many people "talking" at the same time about different things. I prefer message boards and email. But who doesn't like to get mail that isn't bills or flyers?
@Stiletto (4584)
31 Jan 07
My mailbox is always full of bills and junkmail - a handwritten personal letter from someone would be a rare treat! However, it's true that one advantage of the internet is people do stay in touch more and distance doesn't matter. Thanks for your response patgalca.
• United States
30 Jan 07
It seems emails and myspace messages have replace the handwritten letters. I notice it myself. What sucks about it with a myspace, though is you can delete your account and forget about those letters you typed up to your friends or boyfriends. With handwritten letters, you can have a memorable shoebox of letters you can open up any time. It's definitely more personal when it's handwritten.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
31 Jan 07
Yes a letter is also like a keepsake that it's nice to look at from time to time. You can't really do that with an email! Thanks for your response.
@Rahleah (187)
• United States
30 Jan 07
Oh, I hope not. I am a huge fan of the written word ... especially letters, thank you notes, etc. For Christmas I gave each of my adult daughters a beautiful "writing basket" filled with stationery, note cards, thank you's, stamps, pens, misc. cards, and a book I found that helps you know just the right thing to say for different occasions. They were both thrilled. I think it's almost a lost art, and it's definitely something that the younger generation doesn't feel as passionate about. I remember when I was young I used to love to write a letter and use sealing wax on the back of it and metal stamp with my initial in calligraphy. I used to get these at the Hallmark store. You can't even find them there any more. What a shame.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
30 Jan 07
That's a great gift to give. No wonder they were both thrilled. Thanks for your response.
• Philippines
30 Jan 07
I guess it is on case to case basis. Well if the person you wanted to write to is on the other part of the world, then e-mailing them is better. Less expenses, faster, no hassle. But if you are courting someone, or as a girl, I prefer to get love letters personally handwritten and placed in a very nice stationery.
@Stiletto (4584)
30 Jan 07
Sadly I would wager that there will be a whole lot of young people (in the UK at least) that will never have received a love letter and even worse might never get one! What a thought! Thanks for your response.
@gloria777 (1676)
• India
30 Jan 07
Yes, e-mail, mobiles & chatting have really replaced writing letters. Now a day people do not find time to write letters. Before 5 years or so I used to write 2 letters in a week. But now hardly write 1 ot 2 letter in a year.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
30 Jan 07
I used to write a lot of letters too but never write them at all now. Thanks for your response.
• United States
29 Jan 07
I haven't written a letter in 3 or 4 years now. I think it'd be really nice to have a hand written letter come to me, at least it'd feel more personal then!
@Stiletto (4584)
30 Jan 07
I've almost forgotten what it's like to get a real letter! Thanks for your response.
• United States
29 Jan 07
Sure has. I don't think I've gotten a real letter since I was in grade school.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
It's years and years since I got a real letter! Thanks for your response.
@girl079 (147)
• Malta
29 Jan 07
Aside from the few thank you notes that I write during the year, I havent written a letter for ages. I find it way easier to send an email! Guess its the technology for me from now on
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
No I haven't written a letter for years - not even thank you notes I don't think! Thanks for your response.
• United States
29 Jan 07
I wrote a snail mail letter to my Grandparents a couple months ago.. Besides that I havent in years, I love e-mail, Its so fast and simple!!
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
Email is much faster and easier than writing letters but it's not the same as getting a handwritten letter. Thanks for your response.
• Pakistan
29 Jan 07
I don't think so. Though everyone now a days prefer E-mails,but the feelings,emotions and the message through the letters have their own unique Impression
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
I agree with you that letters are much more personal but I just don't think many people send them anymore which is a shame really. Thanks for your response.
• India
29 Jan 07
ya its true that today we have litrally stopped writing letters.we just are hooked to email and net.this is a global phenomenon not restricted to any country or region but has a worldwide effect. before judging any change as positive or negative lets see its causes . this is so popular becoz writing emails is far more easier faster and better means of communication.plus the upcoming of chatting has popularised this then even more. this phenomenon has both its merits and demerits. merit is that communication has become faster and easier. but the demerits accompanying it are more. one loses the essence of his/her particular language. the language degrades a lot. plus our personal touch is not there. i would therefore request people to get back to their trditional way of writing!!!
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
I completely agree with you about the degradation of the language - the use of inappropriate abbreviations is everywhere nowadays and I think that is mainly due to email and text messaging. Thanks for your response.
@kpbhuvana (392)
• India
29 Jan 07
I think writing email have replace letters,but i still prefer to send greeting in post which wud surprise them then just sending them an e card. Every thing has it own importance.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
Yes I still send greetings cards and postcards. I only ever use ecards for friends overseas. Thanks for your response.
@smkwan2007 (1036)
• Hong Kong
29 Jan 07
The world of business now, almost all the non verbal communications has been using email, or printed letters. In my working enviroment, I don't see anyone use written letters as the means of correspondence. However, on personal communication, some older, middle aged people prefer the hand written ones.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
29 Jan 07
I run my own business and never send written letters although I do quite often send printed letters instead of emails. I just think a printed letter looks more professional than an email and is more formal. It works better when you're demanding payment from someone, etc!