Nowadays, mailing peculiarities have been changed dramatically. People do not want to lose a minute in their lives and develop new methods to exchange information in a short period. Moreover, emails have substituted letters, and people have neglected how crucial and enjoyable the process of writing could be. Emails generates a numerous of advantages in regards to fast delivery, unlimited size and letters represents an individual’s own style of writing. During the last two decades, a number of changes have taken place, and such source as the movie Koyaanisqatsi (1982) helps to realise that people are not able to neglect the changes but have to accept and use them properly in order to develop personal attitudes, exchange information, and use their opportunities; the same way the process of writing letters has undergone considerable changes in terms of delivery and information exchange, quality of writing, and the development of personal attitudes so that people get an opportunity to replace a hand-written letter with a quick email.
In the movie Koyaanisqatsi (1982), produced and directed by Godfrey Reggio, the awareness of constant change and people’s necessity to comprehend and accept this change in an appropriate way is one of the foremost topics for consideration. People have to work, think, move, and make decisions in order to survive and meet the standards set by society. However, changes are not easily adapted for everyone. One of them is the obligation to substitute writing letters and wait for replies that may please a human soul with the things that just correspond to the current technological progress and new social expectations like to send an email.
The letter writing entertainment is for people to exchange information, share opinions and communicate distantly. People write letters because of different reasons. For example, they want to discuss the latest news, explain something, inform, or just provide an address with support. Regarding the reasons for writing letters, people choose the peculiarities that do matter: if the message has to be delivered in a short period, it is better to send an email, and if the letter has to support or surprise, a handwritten letter is a good option to rely on. In fact, the current century introduces a number of changes in the sphere of letter writing, and the comparison of handwritten letters vs. electronic mails should help to understand how to make a right choice.
One of the most evident changes between a hand-written letter and an email is the delivery speed and the possibility to exchange any portion of information very quickly. Both, writing a letter and sending an email, requires time and efforts. However, once an email is written, it could be easily sent and delivered within seconds to the recipient. One obstacle could cause a failure that is the absence of the internet connection. On the other hand, a hand-written letter takes a longer delivery procedure compared to an email, where, it also requires a stamp and envelope. A person should visit a post office, send the letter, and wait several days or even weeks (it depends on the distance between an addressee and an addresser) for the letter to be delivered.
Furthermore, nowadays, there are many express delivery companies that promote a fast delivery of letters and other documentation. As a rule, delivery is not cheap; therefore, many people do not want to spend their money on sending one letter that can be delivered within a certain period of time. Besides, the size of a letter defines the prices in a post office. Prices are usually different in all countries. In Canada, the cost of mailing is about 85 cents, and in the USA, people should spend about 45 cents to send a hand-written letter at the post office. The price of sending an email is rather attractive because a person should pay additional money just to pay for the internet connection. Of course, to send an email, a person should have a PC or any other device that can be used.
Therefore, sending a hand-written letter requires the presence of a piece of paper, a pencil (or a pen), an envelope, and a stamp that cost some money and the necessity to visit a post-office to complete the procedure. The process of sending an email seems to be easier: a person should have a special device and the internet connection (as a rule, both these attributes are present in the life of every person). Email may be of any size and contain not only pictures and images but also some video or audio files. If people need to share different pieces of information, email has its privileges. Therefore, the progress of mailing during the last 20 years is evident, and a hand-written letter seems to be more troublesome and inconvenient in comparison to email.
Regarding such aspect as the quality of mailing, emails and letters have a number of differences. One difference is that, when a person writes a letter, every letter or word should be chosen with thought and consideration. People also enjoy inserting stimulating pictures that are hand written. Hand written letters seem to come with a soul that signifies a person’s attitude and personality towards the written letter. The same situation can be hardly observed in the email. It seems like email is the mask that hides some shortages or uncertainties. The process of writing an email can be automatically improved by a special program, and people do not take care of the mistakes or slips they can make. Besides, an email cannot show a person’s handwriting, and handwriting is one of the possible characteristics that can be used to analyse a person, their mood, nature, etc. An email is the combination of the printed letters that usually lack personality.
A person simply prints the text and sends it. Of course, some images, pictures, or even audio files can be added to the email. Still, the emotions of a person, who reads a hand-written paper, and a person, who gets the email, differ considerably. At the same time, the quality of emails and letters depends on the reasons for mailing. For example, a business correspondence should have a special tone and standards to be met. Email is an appropriate solution because it helps to keep all sentences in the same format, all letters are clear, and even some minor grammar or spelling mistakes can be corrected automatically. Letters can be chosen for personal mailing between people, who want to share personal emotions and feelings, use the change of handwriting as a possibility to underline a thought or a world. Besides, when people write letters, they try to remember some simple grammar and spelling rules. The majority of email programs have special checkers that correct the mistakes automatically. In other words, emails make people think less about they know, what they write, and what mistakes they can make.
The final aspect of comparison letters and emails touches upon personal attitudes to the procedure. When a person received a hand written letter, it signifies a sense of care. It portrays that an addresser spent some time on writing, purchasing a stamp and delivering a letter to a mailbox. Hand written letters involve creativity, time, and efforts. Moreover, people do not depend on computers and other technologies that make the delivery of email possible. Instead, they are free to use their own imagination for their own hand written letters. Emails seem dry and emotionless, even if people have the option to insert a smile or a picture. In a written letter, each letter, word, and picture have their own significant meanings. A person, who writes a letter by hand, thinks about each sign used in the letter and counts each word chosen in the message. Sending an email does not require to count each word because it is an automatic procedure. As a result, the meaning of each word and sign used may be neglected.
In general, people are free to write letters or emails and meet their personal or professional goals. There are many advantages and disadvantages of both types of mailing. However, the current comparison shows that a hand-written letter is a kind of respect for the traditions that have been developed for a long period, and email is just another opportunity that becomes available because of the recently achieved technological progress. People should ask themselves if they are ready to neglect the traditions and exchange their freedom and imagination for more time and technologies.
Reggio, G. (Executive Producer). (1982). Koyaanisqatsi. New York: New Cinema.