Advantages of mail vs other forms of communication?

So I love the entire snail mail idea and penfriends and have been thinking about some skills this way of communication could foster or teach us. We have internet and instant messaging, voice notes etc. That is way faster than mail but I still think there are some valuable lessons:

-Communicating with intent. I feel if you wont be able to be present when the mail is received you now need to plan ahead with your letter to ensure the person on the receiving side wont be confused when reading the letter. Any miscommunications will only come to light weeks or months later. So this skill is enforced quite intensively.

-Valuation of information. I think another similar skill is the ability to realize what information is worth writing about. We are so blessed with the ability to share opinions and thoughts widely. You can literally post your latest thought on twitter and have millions of people respond to it instantly. With traditional mail you have to filter what is of importance to share, how best to present your thoughts and then go about writing your letter. I think this teaches us to discern a lot of clutter from what really matters and to focus on that.

These are just two thoughts I entertained, I was hoping there are more inputs into this topic, some thought provoking ideas around snail mail. :innocent:


I have to agree with you.

Electronic communication is perfect for time critical operations. It allows us to ask a question and receive instant responses that will change what we do. It could be in a supermarket where we are getting something that’s out of stock and our partner needs to know for example.

But in recent times, electronic media (and social networks in particular) have eroded social interactions. We see friends sitting together with nothing to talk about because everything has been said, instantly, and shared before hand.

The written letter is dying but it is not, and never will be, dead.
There are people who still value a physical thing over a digital thing. Sales of printed books have always surpassed the sale of digital versions. We still print our photos to save them too.

I deleted Facebook and Instagram off my phone. I have a dedicated mirrorless camera for photos. I still send my friends around the world a letter almost monthly with printed photos and to be honest it’s more fun that way.


I can’t confirm for myself. I’ll literally write the same nonsense on cards that I do online. :smiley:

But I’d vote for graphic appealingness and physical touch.
A letter or postcard can be decorated and personalized almost infinitely and therefore shows the sender’s personality as well as their intentions for the recipient. Also, a letter or card won’t just disappear into the void of electric curcuits after reading. You can store it and will be reminded by its physical appearance of the nice conversation you had. :slight_smile:


I have a good friend with two daughters under ten and no involvement from grandparents. I send cards and letters to them. The Easter one had the lyrics to Easter Parade & Peter Cottontail. St. Patrick’s Day had fun limericks and jokes. Halloween had boo tickets for Frosty’s. Birthdays had bubblegum and gift cards. They now look forward to the mail. I have been promoted to “Aunt” Heather.

I encourage them in school & praise them for their many talents. Soon they’ll be getting personalized stationery, stickers and stamps, so they can write a thank you note (a small lesson in manners). I even include big vocabulary words and interesting facts. I try to show them that reading & writing can be fun. I am surprised how creative it has made me! I am firmly convinced that snail mail has an advantage over electronic in building relationships.


I like communicating by mail because it allows you to time your response with no pressure.

I’m old enough to have grown up with mail-only (yes, we had a telephone but long distance was really expensive then!) and young enough to have been working when practically 24-hour-a-day access was required and if you didn’t get back to someone within several hours at the outside it would be a problem.

As soon as I gave up my consultancy I also quit Facebook and similar online sites where people would get irritated or (worse) sad if you didn’t comment on their cute grandkids or choice of soup for lunch or who-knows-what. Social interaction as a duty just doesn’t make me happy.

Postcrossing came almost accidentally and with that, pen pals. Some of my pen pals I really consider friends, and one of them I would honestly say is my best friend, although we have never met.

Like @Axolotl_ my letters aren’t any more “mindful” than my emails, I tend to be a bit stream-of-consciousness when I write, too. But being able to enjoy the received message a few times and being able to respond when I want to are key to making a happy conversation, at least for me.

I have to add to that being able to use stationery (postcards or cards or writing paper) and pens and to decorate things also contribute to my enjoyment of physical correspondence as opposed to email. I use stickers and deco tape a lot more than emojis!

Oh, and @itsDuncan thanks for the thread! It’s nice to think about these things.