And we don’t mean email.

When was the last time you actually handwrote a letter? For many of you, it was probably a long time ago, and that makes perfect sense. We now live in an age when digital communication has replaced the printed word.

But the trouble is that this has created an unexpected downside: What will people read when we’re gone?

Most people have inboxes with thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, of emails, and most of them are bound to be irrelevant junk mail. In 100 years, who will take the time to sort through your emails and find the ones that leave a record?

After all, a lot of our historical data and confirmed research has hinged on letters we’ve unearthed. What will our anthropology courses be like in a century when we have nothing but inane text messages and emails about saving money on car insurance to sift through?

The problem is that digital communication, while wildly convenient, has made our individual conversations explode with content, and the danger is that we don’t have anything set aside for meaningful (and lasting) words. That is why you should consider writing letters again, if only to leave a more durable form of communication behind for posterity.

Additionally, it’s hard to argue against the emotional impact of actually receiving a letter, even if it was typed before printed. We naturally take more value from things that were prepared with care for us, and there are few things more tedious than writing and delivering a letter!

When it’s all said and done, we don’t know how our communication will turn out as time goes by. For all we know, our digital correspondence may actually be well-preserved  despite the warning signs. Still, it can’t hurt to take steps toward creating and preserving the messages that we hold most dear.

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