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15 November 2012

Reviving letter writing in a digital age

Tim Gibbon, director Elemental By Tim Gibbon

Who doesn’t like to receive a hand written letter? Lets face it’s likely to be good news, not like a bill or similar annoyance. This week, one of the oldest forms of communication – hand written letters - gets a 2012 makeover with the Snail Mail My Email project.

Image of the Snail Mail My Email project 

People are given one week (from 12-18 November 2012) to send an email message to Snail Mail My Email that have a team of volunteers in place ready to handwrite the message and post to whoever the letter has been addressed to – for free. It’s a great personal touch and bridge between what can often be an impersonal nature of email, using technology that’s immersed and engrained so deeply into everyday life.

 

"The project's underlying goal has always been to reignite the lost art of letter writing," explains Cash.

 

The worldwide project devised by artist and author Ivan Cash also allows letter writers to add custom elements to what they pen whether a doodle, flower petal, kiss, spray of perfume etc. From the first Snail Mail My Email project in 2011, 234 volunteers sent 10,457 letters to over seven countries within one month.

 

The project creator Cash has created a new book with the letters from the original Snail Mail My Email project entitled Snail Mail My Email: Handwritten Letters in a Digital World. Billed by the publishers as a ‘bound art collection of the most creative, memorable and heartfelt letters,’ perhaps it’s the lean towards nostalgia that will make us remember how a simple letter can change a mood. With so much emphasis upon digital and social media, it’s a lovely way to remind us that how much of a great feeling it is receiving letter in the post; likewise being the person that makes the gesture writing it (or in this case emailing it) in the first place.

 

Cash continues, "I hope that between the book, the project's return, and any other exposure, people feel inspired to write and send a letter of their own!"

 

As my colleague Rachel pointed out to me today, it’s not clear if the people that submit letters are advised beforehand that their letters will be selected for another potential book. However, if a complete stranger is penning your thoughts and it’s travelling through the WWW, you’ve really got to take onboard anyone can read that letter.

Image of the Snail Mail My Email project letter map 

Why not do something wonderful and send your letter from http://www.snailmailmyemail.org, you have until the 18 November 2012. Or, perhaps reconnect with how handwritten letters can make a difference and do it the old school way… and write it yourself. For me, the last letter, which was more like a quick note was penned this Monday, but was accompanied with a few nice gifts too. It’s not because I had to, but it’s a nice thing to do.

 

A version of this article by Tim Gibbon first appeared on Technorati.

Categories: Social media, Marketing

Tags: Snail Mail My Email, email, letters, letter writing, writing letters, Ivan Cash

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