A post in praise of, er, post!
As I tackle my triple-figure inbox this morning, I’m feeling distinctly nostalgic for the old-fashioned letter. Emails, eh? Who really needs or wants them? Not me, that’s for sure.
Today I have scheduled a large chunk of time to catch up on my inbox – never my favourite task. Even though I know there are some welcome missives from lovely people, most are tiresome, asking me to do things I don’t want to do or telling me stuff I already know.
They also make me feel guilty when I am slow to reply, which I usually am, as I have so many other more urgent and interesting tasks on my to-do list.
The Email Imperative
Why is it that so many people assume that emails deserve immediate answers, even sending you follow-up emails to remind you to reply to their original one? That’s never been the case with letters.
At least, not since Victorian times, when there were multiple and speedy postal deliveries every day in London. You could drop a line to someone in the morning to tell them you would meet them for lunch same day.
Comparative Costs of Emails and Letters
Perhaps it’s the fact that emails are free, and cost the sender nothing but time, that makes people more liberal than with letters. The price of stamps these days is certainly enough to make you think twice before sending a single letter, never mind subsequent ones.
I’m also frustrated by the notion of the email spam filter, though of course also grateful for its existence. Yesterday I have just discovered a whole raft of entirely valid emails in my spam box, for no apparent reason. Does my postman ever hide random letters from me in that capricious way? I think not. Not that I’ve spotted yet, anyway.
I wonder how much people would curtail their email habits if they had to pay for every one they sent, or, as in the early days of the postal service, for each one they received? On second thoughts, perhaps I shouldn’t give Googlemail ideas…