The end of the love letter

Ashley Major

As a literary enthusiast I feel it is my duty to point out that we have a crisis on our hands! In contemporary times, our words have lost their meaning. So long are the love letters, the quintessential childhood passing of notes, the post cards from afar, and now the demise of the spoken word, replacing our tangible treasures is the mindless revolution of texting, facebooking and e-mailing.

While technology has given us many conveniences and has become vital to our progression, it has likewise robbed us of our sentiment. Placed in a box for safekeeping under my mother’s bed are letters, birthday cards and postcards from family and friends. I soon realize that my written memories are all virtually stored in abundance, retrievable only via modern technology. I am troubled by this dying sentiment, unsettled that somewhere in cyber space the words of my generation are left ambiguous and delete-able.

While various forms of social media have increased the volume and ability of our communication, it has diminished the substance of it. We live in a time where we can instantly communicate with anyone, anywhere and anytime around the world. This has allotted us substantial growth by means of information sharing but has nonetheless set us back in content.

The short, imperfect and informal nature of our communication has moved us into an age of personal thoughtless blather. Less is expected of us when it comes to communication; our tone is understood through emoticons, extra letters accenting certain words, and an understood Internet code language.

The Zuckerberg revolution, also known as the creation of Facebook, has singlehandedly changed the way our generation communicates. We have become cyborg-like in that our personalities can be understood by a quick glance at our profile and what we chose to electronically convey. Ironically, the more we text, post and chat the more interacting we lose.

Our words and their meaning are lost in the sending and receiving. While literary and communicative triumphs once expanded our world, such as the invention of moveable type and the postal service, the “at our fingertips” revolution that Facebook promotes has shrunken our literary culture to three simple forms: messaging, e-mail and chat.

Not to sound like a stone-age romantic, as I too guiltlessly indulge in modern marvels, but I find it saddening that writing “Happy Birthday” on a friend’s wall is supplementary to a birthday card, text-flirting has replaced sweet phone calls, and letters from far away friends are substituted by shapeless e-mails.

In a world where we are endlessly tempted to swap reality for the cyber, I believe we are losing our paper trail. While it may not sound detrimental to us now, I feel envious of my mother with her paper life neatly stashed under her bed for joyful reminiscing whenever she needs it most.

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