Are the Arts of Snail Mail and Penpalling Dying?
The different kinds of writing paper you can get.
How we corresponded before the Internet.
I have been pen-palling for around 25 years now. It all started back in the early 90s when I met one of my late husband's nieces and she was telling me she has pen-pals all around the world. This piqued my interest and asked her how she got started. She handed me something called a Friendship Book. This is a small booklet made by people and posted on to the next pen-pal to fill in with his/her name and address. When the Friendship book is full, it gets sent back to the person who first made it. So when I started filling these books in, I started getting letters through the post.
Since then I have attained many pen-pals around the world, some I have had for more than 20 years now. I have met some pen-pals, and have made some good friends from when I first started letter writing. But since then computers, the Internet and most importantly, social media, seems to have over taken this. I have heard reports in the past where Royal Mail have said there is a decline in people sending letters and correspondence over the years due to the Internet and emails. I think this a shame, and writing a letter to someone is so much more personal, isn't it? There's nothing like putting pen to paper and hand writing a letter to someone. Some of the letters I get through the post are really nice too with pretty stickers all over the envelope and nicely coloured writing paper with pictures and stickers on them.
Of course there is the extra expense of posting a letter, especially if it's overseas. I have pen-pals in the USA, Australia, Germany, Austria and Japan. But what I like about this is that you get to see the lovely stamps from some of these Countries. This has got me into stamp collecting, and I cut the stamp carefully from the envelop and place it in my stamp album. But the cost of a stamp is well worth the money when I get lovely letters back in return. Yes, the Friendship Books I mentioned have declined dramatically. I think because the world and his wife are on Facebook now, it's easier to keep in touch on there. I'm also in a couple of pen-pal Groups on Facebook, so it is still a popular hobby. But not as much as it used to be.
I've still got about 40 pen-pals, but this number has dropped a lot over the years. I know I used to have a lot more than that. I like to look round the charity and second hand shops for pretty writing sets and paper to write on. And my Postman has commented that I am the most popular address on the street for receiving letters. It made me smile when he said that.
Mobile phone usage
The birth of social media and mobile phones
It annoys me when I see people walking down the street, or in restaurants with their heads in the phones. It's all I ever tend to see when I'm out, especially in the younger generation. There are a number of reasons why this angers me. Not only does it stop people from communication face-to-face, but I also think it hampers peoples writing skills. When you're texting or messaging something, a lot of words and sentences are abbreviated, and this becomes habit. I really do think it hampers peoples spelling and grammar. I've come across a lot of people who can't even spell basic words correctly. The art of writing a letter doesn't seem to be in every day life anymore. And this does sadden me.
I was once out for a meal with my brother and on the next table sat 3 teenagers. All of them had their heads in there phones. None of them were talking or making conversation or engaging with each other. Is this how society is nowadays? I know that the Internet and social media plays a big part in every day lives now, but I think it's still nice to receive a handwritten letter through the letterbox sometimes.
I remember when there used to be 2 postal deliveries a day where I live. But now there's just the 1. And a lot of Post Offices have closed in recent years too, which saddens me. It's especially hard in the villages when you've got elderly people that rely on such services. I am in a couple of groups on Facebook where people are still looking for snail mail pen-pals, which I like. So it's still popular, but I do wish handwritten letters on a whole would become common practice again.