I don’t like to quote myself since it appears – and is – self-serving, but I recently published an article called “It’s not worth the paper it’s printed on – The lost art of fine stationery.” The tongue-in-cheek article seeks to apply a monetary value to correspondence using engraved stationery to determine if it is any more relevant than the new forms of social correspondence such as Twitter and text-messaging.
Clearly, the conscious act of visiting a stationery store to design your own personal stationery demonstrates a level of commitment to a meaningful form of communication. I think it is fair to say that words exchanged in writing tend to leave more of a lasting impression than a phone conversation. While both may accomplish the same objective, the simple act of taking the time to write a brief note resonates on a more personal level.
I recently learned that an industry research study (I did not actually read the report) had concluded that 86% of people interviewed still considered “paper” correspondence to be a more effective form of communication. More than that, the trend is holding steady suggesting that text messaging and social media sites may not be making as much headway as once suspected.
Certainly, today’s New York Times article “Buying, Selling and Twittering All the Way“ suggests that the Twitter model has been seriously compromised by Big Business. Twitter’s tag line of “What are you doing?” now seems to have been overtaken by paid mercenaries building “brand awareness” for their employer. According to the article, Greg Ahearn of Toys “R” Us stated that Twitter is “a way people can stay connected with the brand in a way they’ve never been able to before.” Now, I can’t really understand why people would want to stay connected to a brand (even Toys “R” Us), but I am absolutely convinced that the Big Business footprint in Twitter will drive their audience to greener pastures. Big Business simply doesn’t get it: Twitter is about people, Twitter is not a medium for aggressively selling or creating brand awareness!
I am reassured that people still value the exchange of social correspondence: It is a habit and art form well worth preserving.
Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair