Guest Post by Laura Mills
This weekend, I caught myself venting to my boyfriend about holiday greetings. As my Blackberry refreshed, the latest in a slew of online e-greetings popped up, and my patience waned.
See, holiday cards are my thing. It’s a habit nurtured by my late grandmother, Betty Joyce Mills, who instilled the importance of handwritten correspondence at an early age. She was the master. Joyce always sent postcards, even if she had only visited a local spot in Birmingham for brunch with her bridge club. Her thank you notes were impeccably timed, with exuberant prose in her always recognizable cursive. She sent birthday cards, Valentines, Halloween greetings as well as notes for the tiniest of accomplishments, including a congratulations card for being published on the internet after my first guest blog posted on RepMan.
And even as she grew an affinity for e-mail, computers and the World Wide Web, Joyce never lost reverence for handwritten correspondence. Every year, I receive more and more e-cards of animated cows or my face on Will Ferrell’s dancing “Elf”
body. There is nothing wrong with this, but while I appreciate the thought, the convenience and, as one friend put it, that it’s inherently eco-friendly, the digital alternative seems empty to me.
A recent holiday article in the New York Times verbalized a lot of how I feel about this tradition. Mainly, the joy involved in the process. There are few people in this world that aren’t lifted by a handwritten note, arriving via post. It’s just more sincere. More personal. More special.
To me, this doesn’t just apply to the holidays. As we become more and more digitally dependent, the written note is becoming a lost art. Too often, after interviewing a potential colleague or treating a recent grad to a weekend networking brunch, an email passes unceremoniously through my inbox as a gesture of appreciation. Or worse, receiving a Wall post thank you on my Facebook page. The point is made, but it’s quickly lost.
While digital progress is necessary in many contexts, you can’t convince me that this is one of them. So, this New Years, I challenge you to write more handwritten notes. For the sake of the public relations industry, let’s briefly relinquish the convenience of the quick email or instant message. Let’s be more personal in 2009.