Letters vs. E-mail

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Letters vs. E-mail: Communicating through Writing My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins live in Ireland leaving oceans and expensive air fare separating us. Through pictures, stories, letters, and phone calls I have come to know the history of my family, what brought my mother to this country, and what a life in Ireland is like. However, over time these forms of communication were not strong and consistent enough to enable me to build an emotional connection and relationship with specific members of my family. I mainly just heard my mother’s point of view and got to know my family through her experiences with them. That was before the invention of electronic mail, a faster, cheaper outlet for communication that can reach anyone in the world who has access to the World Wide Web. Without technology, cyber space, and e-mail I would have very little communication and understanding of my family in Ireland. Prior to the creation of e-mail, writing letters was the best way to communicate overseas or anywhere a phone company considered long distance. Phone calls were too expensive and the time difference between Ireland and Michigan made it inconvenient to reach someone at a suitable hour. Phone numbers and area codes are also constantly changing while e-mail addresses stay with you wherever you go. While I was in High School my family moved three times, making it difficult for my relatives overseas to keep up with which number was the most recent. However, they knew it was still possible to get a hold of us via e-mail. Communicating through letters was exhausting, demanded time, and required readable penmanship. It could take almost two weeks to receive mail and half the time it would... ... middle of paper ... ...f writing provide for a fast and effective mode of communication. There are both positive and negative characteristics associated with the use of the postal mail system and the handwritten letter versus electronic mail and computer created text. However, without the invention of e-mail it would not be possible for me to communicate and keep in touch with my family overseas as often and frequently as I do. Thanks to e-mail I can now build a better relationship with family members I seldom get to physically interact with. Works Cited Baron, Dennis. “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies.” Tribble and Trubek 36. Lesser, Wendy. “The Conversion.” Tribble and Trubek, 227-231. Tribble, Evelyn, and Trubek, Anne, eds. Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 2003
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