Trading Plastic for Paper: The Need for Handwritten Notes
Every day we see reports on how time spent on social media channels continues to rise. We spend a good portion of our day online—reading up on industry news, current events, posting witty comments on friends’ walls, tagging photos, untagging ourselves from unflattering photos and keeping updated on every minute detail of our online friends lives.
LT Public Relations encourages all of our clients to use social media, as it’s undoubtedly become one of the most critical ways to tell a businesses’ story and connect with clients and the public. However, as we use it more, we have to wonder its effect on how we build and maintain “real” relationships. Do we put as much time into developing those as we do online? For example, do we plan on celebrating birthdays? Or do we forget about them until the birthday reminder shows up on the side of our Facebook page? Do we take the time to go and visit a friends new baby, or just click through the posted photos and call it good?
This week I learned of a brilliant project called Snail Mail My Email. For a month, anyone can email a letter to the project’s volunteers. The volunteers then handwrite the letter and send it to the recipient. Amazing, right? When was the last time that you received a handwritten note in your mailbox? This “old-school” method of communicating is refreshing to see and is a nice reminder of someone’s personality and not just a quick few clicks on a plastic keyboard.
The art of interpersonal communication and particularly conflict resolution, can’t be learned with a retweet or with a Facebook post while you’re on your lunch break. As the notion of picking up the phone or getting together in person becomes more of an inconvenience, we have to remind ourselves at work (and at home), to pick up a phone, write a note (with a pen) or arrange an in-person meeting when an email would be so much faster. Sure, building a relationship can be done over the phone and with a quick email – but building a solid relationship that can survive differing opinions, tight budgets, deadlines and conflict takes much more than 140 characters.