From letters to email: How we welcomed anxiety

May 13, 2020 • ☕️ 3 min read

Image from instagram

Why are you still doing this? Switch to that and you’ll save 100,000 hours of your time.
No sir. I’m fine with what I’m using.

We used to write letters once (We, as in, humans. Not us as you and me millenials).

The previous generation did. It used to take time and effort. We picked up our pens when we had something very important/interesting to communicate and then carefully use the words to put on paper and say what we were trying to say.

It took time to deliver and even longer time to get a reply, if at all.

No read receipts, mind you.

The paper was limited, the number of words you could deliver was limited and was limited. But the quality was high.

Then the email came along and we switched to that. It was better in every way. You could write more, to more people, was practically free, saved time and resources.

Read receipts, amazing.

You could connect to every person you ever knew. We could talk about anything and everything, almost in real-time.

And we started saving time, as advertised. Or did we?

If a dialogue earlier took a week to happen, not it was happening in maybe half an hour. So we did save time, didn’t we? Quite a lot of it actually. But what did we do with that saved time?

Sure we wrote more email. We wrote to everybody. Even the ones to whom we would’ve never written in earlier times. Now, all we’re doing with our saved time is just writing more and more emails.

Now I have dozens of messages in my inbox the time I wake up. And almost every email has a person behind it expecting an ASAP reply.
And now I’m spending more time than ever just writing and replying to my mail.

Did we just enslaved ourselves by, I mean, email?!
It was meant to make our lives easier. And for us to have more time on our hands.
We just took this plane from 100mph to 10,000mph and all we got in return is anxiety?

Now in the age of connectivity, we feel ever more disconnected.

Not to mention the quality also suffered.
Earlier we used to phrase our words carefully, think our thoughts through, and also expected an equally well-written letter in return.

So What’s the solution then?

from letters to email how we welcomed anxiety 2
Image from instagram

Imagine if today you had to write to a friend or family knowing that you won’t be hearing from them in a while, you would not just share memes, would you? Okay, a few memes, I get it. But certainly, you would be compelled to write something of value.

Something which you care about and want to talk about. You won’t fill the void with your daily monotonous ramblings.

We need to strive for quality of communication not quantity.

Of course, email is irreplaceable and easily the most vital part of mass communication. But that doesn’t mean we should write just anything. Pick your battles (contacts). Have an engaging dialogue. Keep yourself in the speed limit.

A little over-speeding here and there is fine, as long as you don’t get bogged down just being an inbox slave.


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