When text messages were introduced to cell phone communication, they seemed like a quick, efficient way to relay questions or information that didn't warrant a lengthy phone conversation. However, our generation has defaulted to text messages as a preferred method to communicate.
We text while we're walking, cooking and working, and even working out at the gym. While at times, it may be convenient to send a quick text when busy, texting has diluted the quality of our conversations and interactions.
Texts are impersonal, easy to forget about when caught up with things and are rarely able to convey stories or messages with meaning.
I've found that the best way to keep in touch is just an updated version of historic communication: cyber letters, aka emails. Emails and letters are far more time-consuming than texting, and they require both isolated thoughts and coherent responses to questions in the thread.
My friends with whom I communicate via email are more caught up with my life than anyone else. And, I feel a deep, sincere bond with these people, as well.
Longer letter messages allow time for each writer to collect his or her thoughts and to respond to each paragraph or idea with time to select the proper wording to convey the right message.
Knowing that my cyber pen pal took the time to read my message and dedicated the time to respond is a testament to our true connection and genuine friendship.
Having a new message in my virtual mailbox is just as exciting as getting a package in the regular mail. I look forward to hearing about my friends' lives in more than 140 characters or a few silly emoji. I devour the messages like books and stories, and the personal quality makes cyber letters exponentially more enjoyable than texts.
It's true that with real friends, it's possible to go for long stretches of time without seeing each other only to pick up right where you left off. However, taking the time to draft letters to one another creates a closeness that is unmatched.
You can text back and forth with a friend for hours but still communicate nearly no information about your respective lives.
Part of this is certainly due to the nature of such communication. Phrases like "what's up?" and "how's life?" hardly beg any deep or detailed responses. Letters, on the other hand, delve into topics, one by one and open a dialogue that lends itself to far more to intricate responses.
The fast-paced nature of life in our generation means cyber letters might take a few days for a response, which is sort of a nostalgic irony, given the lightning-fast speed of email.
However, in a day and age where jobs are more demanding, time is increasingly more precious and personal communication has grown elusive, cyber pen pals have great value as a release from our other everyday stresses.
Taking the time to write out a letter is therapeutic. It allows you to reflect on your own life from a storytelling perspective; it allows you to recap recent events and also gives you the opportunity to catch up with a friend.
It’s real; it’s a release, and I promise, you’ll be so glad you did it.