Last time I checked, I was getting about 800 emails a week. That sounds like a lot, but it’s manageable. I never have more than a hundred in my inbox at any one time. My goal is to get to empty, every single day. Usually, I succeed.
Conversely, I usually get about three traditional letters a week. You know what I am talking about, right? It looks similar to an email, but it’s printed on actual paper, neatly folded and inserted into an envelope, with a real, honest-to-goodness stamp on the outside.
Believe it or not, receiving three letters a week is more hassle than 800 emails. So why should anyone send me a letter? I can think of 10 reasons:
- You don’t need me to read your correspondence for a couple of weeks.
- You don’t need a response back in less than a month or a response is optional.
- You are looking for a simple way to add to my workload and yours.
- You have a longing for the 1980s.
- You have invested a lot of money in beautiful stationary and feel guilty for not using it.
- You are trying to develop a meaningful relationship with your postal carrier.
- You feel the need to subsidize an obsolete government agency.
- You like buying stamps—especially with pictures of dead presidents.
- You believe your letters are immortal and hope that someone will collect them for posterity.
- You are Amish.
If none of these apply to you, then please—puh-leaze—send me an email and be done with it. You will get a faster response—usually the same day.
Update: As several readers have pointed out, in some situations, there’s no substitute for a handwritten note. I agree. Thank-you notes, condolences, congratulations, etc., are still a more personal, meaningful way to communicate. Even I agree with that and practice it.
I was really speaking to more traditional business or transactional correspondence where the sender expects the recipient to take some action based on that correspondence. The bottom line: If you expect me to reply or forward your correspondence onto someone else, then email is still your best option.