Do you remember the days when getting snail mail was fun? Back before the only things that came were bills, credit card applications, and catalogs? In our technologically savvy world, it seems that sending an Email, Tweet or Facebook message is just so much easier than handwriting something, addressing and licking an envelope, putting a stamp on it, and walking it all the way to a mailbox.
Freelance writer, Giles Turnbull, who writes for The Morning News, the Press Association, and other online articles, had a very unique idea occur to him recently. He wondered what it would be like to convert Tweets from instant status updates on the internet to messages sent by post. One might ask what would be the point of such an exercise? What possessed him to replicate Twitter by mail, and what was the outcome of this endeavor? The best answer as to why he did it, would be simple curiosity, and the outcome for Turnbull was the surprising discovery that “getting mail was fun again”. To make his plan work, Giles asked 15 of his Twitter friends from around the world to help him “Tweet” by mail. He quickly discovered that his personal status updates were not easy to post to each person, as he had to write and re-write the same message on each postcard. However, tweets to individuals were much easier to manage, and he found that he enjoyed the process of writing simple messages and receiving responses from his Twitter friends via mail. A month dedicated to this idea required no less than a billion stamps!
Turnbull reflected on the letters written in the 20th century, noting that they were actually more like “social media updates”, than the long-winded, descriptive letters sent by mail today. 20th century letters sent by post and Tweets on the world-wide web, are very much alike in content and purpose: simple, short messages intended to quickly inform and be promptly replied to by the recipient. And so, according to Turnbull “that’s why postal services were so frequent, and why there were so many deliveries. The post mattered. People love updates.” And the result of his project in “replicating Twitter via the postal system wasn’t an attempt to reject the internet—it was a way of celebrating it.”