Posted by: Morgan | November 12, 2009

Snail Mail: Where has it gone?

Recently my cousin wrote a post about the beauty of snail mail, ending with a challenge to herself and her readers to send out one piece of mail for every day in November. This has stuck with me during the past couple weeks, but I have done nothing to pursue her challenge. Tomorrow I have an outline for my persuasive speech due in class and, while brainstorming today for a new topic, snail mail merged with speech class. I am going to persuade them to write more letters.

While looking for information and sources to defend my stance, I was actually intrigued by what I found. Postal mail was on a continual rise until 2006, where it peaked at 213 billion pieces of mail sent through the US Postal Service in a year. In the past three years it has dropped 20%, and another large drop is projected for this year. Not only does this mean the government Post Office is losing money, but it also shows a shift in the way people communicate. I found estimates of 1.4 billion email users worldwide, and 247 billion emails sent daily.

I also found that studies show that writing out our thoughts, either by journaling or letter writing, can benefit our physical and mental well-being. Journaling has been strongly linked to lowering the risk for asthma, in particular. I would also suspect that the rarity of actually writing or receiving postal mail creates a greater happiness from doing so than probably would be there if this was a regular part of our lives. Smiling and laughing have been proven to increase endorphin levels, so if a letter can bring a smile then it is making us feel better.

In my speech I offer the idea of writing personal letters to friends or family, letters of action to elected officials, and letters of encouragement to soldiers overseas. Along with this last point I found several organizations that assist Americans in sending letters and care packages to our military. The Letters From Home Program is the one I chose to gather notes from my class members for.

I think I am going to take Candace’s challenge, though perhaps not to the degree that she intended. With how busy I am, I am going to endeavor to write at least one letter per week. At the current stamp rate, that’s only $1.76 a month. Perhaps I will write one personal letter and another to either a magazine, government official, or military care program. I’m actually really excited to do so! Maybe I’ll even get some thoughtful responses sent back.



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