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Read any good personal letters lately? Me neither

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Read any good personal letters lately? Me neither

Post  Betep on Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:49 pm

From the AP:
Read any good personal letters lately? Me neither
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID

WASHINGTON (AP) -- If Mark Twain were alive today would he tweet, "OMG, reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated, LOL"?


When Twain did read his premature obituary, he sent a letter assuring friends the report was overblown.

But when was the last time you got a personal letter in the mail? If you live in a typical American household, it's been a while.

According to the Postal Service's annual survey, the average household gets one personal letter about every seven weeks. It was a letter about every two weeks in 1987.

While many people write notes in the holiday and birthday cards they send, the post office doesn't include those in the letter category. Holiday and other greeting cards, as well as written invitations, have also gone down.

The Postal Service says this trend is "primarily driven by the adoption of the Internet as a preferred method of communication."

The loss of that lucrative first-class mail is just one part of the agency's financial troubles, along with payment of bills via Internet and a decline in other mail. The Postal Service is facing losses of up to $8 billion this year.

The loss to what people in the future know about us today may be incalculable.

In earlier times the "art" of letter writing was formally taught, said Webster Newbold, a professor of English at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

"Letters were the prime medium of communication among individuals, and even important in communities as letters were shared, read aloud, and published. Letters did the cultural work that academic journals, book reviews, magazines, legal documents, business memos, diplomatic cables, etc. do now. They were also obviously important in more intimate senses, among family, close friends, lovers, and suitors in initiating and preserving personal relationships, and holding things together when distance was a real and unsurmountable obstacle," he said.

"It's too early to tell with any certainty whether people are using email, texting, Twitter tweets, Facebook status updates, and so on in the same ways that we earlier relied on the letter for; they are probably using each of these media in different ways, some of which allow people to get closer to each other and engage in friendly or intimate exchange. It seems that email is the most letter-like medium," added Newbold.

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I've taught texting/facebooking teens how to send a postcard. It's totally foreign to them.

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Betep

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