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Email Nostalgia

I’m up north, sitting in the cabin by the fire. It’s raining outside, and it’s one of those early fall nights where the cold is just beginning to seep into your bones. I just spent an hour reading/writing/sorting/filing some email. To some, this would be a useless waste of time, but there is a strange comfort I get from email.

I know that email is sooo last decade. I know that everyone gets too much email. It’s clear from my students that they regard email as nothing more than the worst instant messaging platform ever.

I have my blog, my facebook, my twitter, my flickr, my last.fm, and instant messaging. I can communicate effortlessly to a broad audience with any of these, and yet, they do not hold the same weight to me that email does.

I keep old emails. Lots and lots of old emails. I liken it to the way that people used to keep boxes of letters from loved ones. What will I pass on to my grandchildren some day when they want to look back at my correspondence?

I used to write longer emails. I would go so far to say that 10 years ago, I was putting a lot more thought into the words I sent people. Somewhere along the line, I would guess around the time that I graduated from college, my emails quality dropped considerably. After starting my current job, I’d say the email quality has dropped again, along with the quality of my blog posts. (Save this particular post, of course).

Is this a simple function of time? Am I just busier? Maybe there are less people I am concerned with keeping in contact with. Or maybe there is a greater congruence between the people I am with and the people I want to be with.

But, unfortunately, there are people I’d like to be with whom I neglect to send meaningful emails. (Or with whom I share meaningful phone calls, but I’d argue a well-written email is almost like Tivo for the phone) I worry that as my communication gets snipped into smaller and smaller parts, the potential audience also gets smaller and smaller. For example most of the people I know don’t read my twitter page. Do all my friends get a chance to see all the pictures I upload to flickr? Can I write something on this blog to start a conversation amongst my friends?

I don’t really know what the answer is to all my questions, but I think it’s clear I want to spend a bit more time writing.

Writing here on the blog, writing for work, and writing email. My english department friends will surely smack me around with the obvious stick, but practicing writing leads to clearer writing, and probably, clearer thinking. (By the way, is that a proper sentence?)

Maybe I’ll be able to work out the answers to some of my questions.

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Categories: Random Thoughts.