Michelle Wittle On the Human Element

Michelle Wittle On

In a world in which news can reach us in a matter of mere seconds after it has occurred, I feel like we are missing out on the human element. When was the last time you honestly had a phone conversation with someone that lasted more than a minute?  Better yet, when was the last time you got a letter in the mail from a friend? With the Internet and email, we don’t need to rely on the post office or old Mr. Bell’s invention to send news quickly to one another. In a click, our baby’s new pictures or a web video of his or her first words can be sent. Our handy phones can do all the talking for us. Just the other day I was scrolling through my text messaging templates and I saw one that said, “I love you”. Now I don’t even have to take the extra five seconds it would take for me to type the words; I could just click a button or two and my message would be sent.

That knowledge makes me sick. How important do I think my life is that I can’t stop for a few seconds and text a loved one those words?

Furthermore, why couldn’t I just call and leave a message? Why do I have to text at all?

In a blog I wrote called, “Saving the Post Office One Post card at a Time” http://mwittle.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/saving-the-post-office-one-post-card-at-a-time/,  I discussed the importance of the post office and also the importance of getting personal mail. But I think with this blog, I need to take it one step more.

I fear we are becoming more and more dependent on machines to hold our memories and our most treasured items. For that, we need to be ashamed.

Computers crash and phones die. But what does last is the written word.

I can tell you that some of my most precious items are cards and letters I have gotten over time. One card that comes to my mind as I write this blog is one I got for my birthday a few years ago. On it was a purple stick figure of me and it said on the front, “Happy birthday to (there was then an arrow pointing to the purple stick figure)”. Inside the card held many of our private jokes that I could explain to you but it wouldn’t make sense and you would be bored, so I will spare you all of that.  But the reason I love this card so much is because it was created just for me by the giver. Hallmark couldn’t have created a better card.

The words that come from the heart mean the most. While it is true you can pour your heart and soul in an email, it doesn’t really have the full power you could get from writing it in your own hand.

So, I ask you all to consider this final thought. When you have something very personal to say to someone else, find the human element that works best for you. Some might want to talk on the phone, while others (myself included) may need to write the words out on paper. Send it off in the mail or hand it to the person; but make sure you take the time to give that extra human touch. Trust me, when that person needs you the most, all they will need to do is take out that letter or recall your voice. It will help far more than an email  or a text message.

3 thoughts on “Michelle Wittle On the Human Element

  1. Everyone has forgotten just how important the act of writting a letter is. It means so much to get a letter in the mail from an old friend. Just think how much a letter means to a soldier overseas or a wife back home. Just think how much a grandmother looks foward to getting a note from a grandchild from one side of the country to the other all for 44 cents. Letters have also played a very important part in our nations history. Thankyou Michelle Wittle for making us all remember how powerful a letter can be.

    1. Geez…I thought I was the only one who was a sap for the written word. Thank you so much for making those observations. Also, thanks for coming in and making a comment. -Michelle

  2. When I was little, my parents would take pictures to preserve a special moment in time. As I grew older, video cameras replaced the kodak camera. Throughout the years, the video camera changes the type of cassette it needed. Older models were obsolete and were not compatable with their newer counterparts. Today are memories are locked inside of obsolete technology and require the assistance of a specialist to retrieve them. We are increasing our risk of losing our most cherished memories.
    Letters, cards, and photos are memories that may fade but exist for time to come. Locked in a box are letters, cards, from my first crush, my childhood best friends, and my first boyfriend. These momentos can not be replaced. Their meaning comes through everytime I hold it. One can not hold a jpeg or a text message. When the phone dies, the memory is lost.
    With a new dependence on these technlogies we run the risk of losing the opportunity to share ourselves with our future generations. We can read the letters of John Adams, Abraham Lincoln. We can look at the pictures of important events that are captured in time. We have these precious memories because they are tangable. When technology is obsolete, how can our future learn about us…when they are unable to play our messages? View our pictures? Or read our emails?

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