Except this time it was a real letter! Yes, a paper letter. No not a bill. A letter.
And I found the experience rather odd. Somewhat old fashioned even. But for most people, letter writing is probably still normal – at least it shouldn’t feel strange communicating through Canada Post. Should it? This is something I can easily lose sight of when I look at online publishing – I need to be careful not to generalize my experience with others – I’ve spent way more time online than the average person.
Having sent out my mini ethnography to just about everyone I could, to rip up and critique, I received in this stamped letter, a five page hand written response. The friend who responded felt more comfortable writing privately. The response is an essay in itself, and it really shows how we can achieve similar goals through very different kinds of networks. It also shows how personal preference is involved – not everyone wants to be known publicly, or share their response. I’ll try and get permission to discuss the comments on here, because they are really very insightful and certainly interesting to other anthropology students.
And today, I bumped into a friend on the street. She said “oh sorry I haven’t been in touch. I don’t have facebook”. I replied “no problem catch me on gmail”. [smooth...] But what she meant to say was she had no internet, as she had just moved.
She then pulled out her cell phone and said “hey give me your cell number… ” to which I replied “oh I don’t carry one. ” I developed a bad cellphone allergy working tech support at 3am … She looked at me wondering what bizarre world I lived in, where I could live without such a device.
A matter of preference and expectation.
I like communication where you can pick a time to sit down and answer. Twitter is pretty cool, messenger can be annoying. But letter writing? I forgot all about it, and certainly did not expect it. And people expect me to have a cell phone – it’s almost like not having an address – snail or e-mail. It’s interesting to think about how we choose these technologies – and how quickly they become seemingly essential means of communication.
Now to hand write a response! off to the cafe. [the office]