Like the Industrial Revolution, the Electronic Revolution has brought countless benefits to mankind. However, there are also some disadvantages, a description of one of which follows. While composing a text message the other day on my iPhone, I was struck by how convenient it was to immediately send a message on whatever subject I wished and know that in 99 cases out of 100 it would be read, considered and acted upon. Then, I remembered something that perhaps few have thought about. People accomplished these kinds of things in the past by writing letters. With texting so prevalent now, the art of communicating by letter will perhaps someday soon disappear. My next thought was, how horrible.
For thousands of years people communicated with each other by writing letters -- whether it was an introduction, an expression of anger, an explanation, a hello or a description of some plan or event. Letters themselves are tangible; they are kept for sentimental reasons, for legal reasons or sometimes just to reread. Historians become aware about the past sometimes only by reading letters written by those who lived and acted then. Major decisions are still based on events described and influenced by writers' recording of ideas, events or results. Now, in texting, with one finger, most people destroy their electronically posted feelings, thoughts and ideas within seconds.
Where will historians of the future be able to find and verify ideas, plans, personal opinions and feelings? Worst of all, what about love letters? Will they no longer be there to inspire the heart when reading the exchanges of two lovers? It is a sad future for us and also, unfortunately, for the post office.
JOE A. DICKINSON