What Letter Am I Holding Up?

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This weblog post – is it a letter from me to you? Does it come into the same category as something that is enclosed in an envelope, sealed, and addressed to you personally, and paid for with a $ 1.00 coin and a trip to the post box? Do you feel that I am writing to you?

Not a silly question. I’m currently hiding from the heat of the day in my dining room and writing these weblog posts on a number of different subjects. Some are formulaic tales of exhibitions I have seen – some are just flights of fancy. I am now curious to see if they can be actual personal communication.

This WordPress weblog has a section where people can write back to me. It is both simple and complex in operation and up until now the replies that have come in have been dealt with on a personal reply basis. It would need someone more skilled at the mechanics of social media to tell me if those replies ever actually reached the writers. I hope so. If you are someone who has sent something off and never heard back, please do not be offended. I probably did not ignore you, but have not set the buttons quite right to route the message to you.

I note that the traditional send and receive pattern in the physical post is largely gone – I do persist in sending handwritten letters myself but some of the recipients complain about the penmanship or just use the email to reply. It is quick, easy, presumably cheap, but nowhere near as satisfying or characteristic as a return by paper. I can hear and see the writer with the paper letter and I keep them safe for re-reading. The business of hand writing also slows the process considerably and this aids thinking. As it is not an exam or contest to see how much can be crammed into a short period of time I think it an improvement.

The recent changes in the postal charges are a pain – we are to pay considerably more for considerably slower service. It will impact on how bills are paid and cost time and travel to make sure that things go through human hands at the post office to avoid late payments. Of course it is all a form of pressure to increase the use of electronic fund transfer and open all transactions to scrutiny – though why more scrutiny for the payment of a bill to a government agency is needed rather defeats me. If they have the money, they know who paid it and who received it…

An experiment of addressing a specific question to a reader of this column has so far not been completed – no answer yet. Perhaps he did not see the question or realise it was for him. I will have to become more familiar with the mechanics of entering other weblog sites to see if communication can be something more than one-sided.

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