Author: Pamela Yates
I have a friend holidaying in Italy (lucky thing) and have been following her travels through Instagram. It is wonderful to see all those fabulous places on-line. Then last week I received a postcard through the mail. Remember them, a cheesy photo of a location and then enough room to say “having a great time” on the back. But it is the postcard that brought the most joy. I now have it sitting above my desk and gaze at the beautiful Mediterranean as it is wet and windy outside. There is something personal about receiving mail which cannot be replicated on-line.
While I enjoy browsing the internet, following the news and keeping in touch with friends on-line, I find something very satisfying about the printed medium. I prefer hard copy books and magazines rather than e-reader versions. It is very relaxing to put away the technology, grab a coffee and sit down with a new magazine. I think this may be a generational perspective, but if you have been to the library and seen the young children absorbed in a book, maybe the tactile and tangible characteristics of the paper and ink will continue to appeal into the future.
As a communications specialist, I know that email and social media are very effective communications channels, but when overused become tiresome and irritating. It is also very easy to hit delete on unwanted email, or to forget them if they drop below the screen. Paper based communication can compliment the on-line environment. I create a bi-monthly business newsletter which is printed and posted to a wide audience. While there are some that prefer to receive the newsletter on-line, most are happy to get a personally addressed envelope in their mail and enjoy the hard-copy version. We know that some will be discarded immediately, but many will be shared with others, the most positive outcome.
It is interesting that major retail organisations continue to invest in brochures and flyers, regarded as junk mail by some, as part of their advertising campaigns. There must be a continued audience for all that paper stuffed into letter boxes across the country.
For me, I love to get communications through the post, except for bills of course. There is something touching about a card or letter that makes a connection that emails, Instagram, Facebook etc. cannot emulate. Next time you are on holiday send a postcard to your nearest and dearest, I am sure they will thank you for it.