E-mails Turned Into Handwritten Letters

September 1, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. avid (adj.) [av-id] – showing great enthusiasm or interest in something
Example: He is an avid reader of classic novels.

2. personalized (adj.) [pur-suh-nl-ahyzd] – to be made especially for a specific individual
Example: The design of her shoes is unique because it is personalized.
3. cold (adj.) [kohld] – not affectionate or friendly
Example: He showed a cold attitude toward his rivals.

4. recipient (n.) [ri-sip-ee-uhnt] – a person who or thing that receives something
Example: I was the recipient of a government scholarship in the university.

5. enlighten (v.) [en-lahyt-n] – to gain knowledge or understanding about something
Example: The social studies class enlightened the students.

Read the text below.

Snail Mail My Email, a month-long volunteer project, turned e-mails into handwritten letters.

The project, headed by artist and avid letter-writer Ivan Cash, aimed to raise awareness about the value of personalized handwritten letters.

Cash observed that the fast-paced world has made the exchange of messages through e-mail and social networks cold and impersonal. Cash wished to change this through his project.

Snail Mail My Email worked very simply. For a period of one month, interested people e-mailed their letters to volunteers who rewrote the letters by hand and added some personal touches into them before sending the letters to the recipients.

At first, Cash did not expect many people to respond to the project, so he intended to write the letters himself. Unexpectedly, 2,300 emails came in only two weeks after the launching of the project. In order to send all letters worldwide, he needed the help of 134 volunteers.

The project raised awareness not only in the participants but also in the volunteers. One of them said that many of the letters were love letters, and she felt privileged to have served as a bridge in people's relationships.

According to Margaret Shepherd, author of a book about handwritten letters, people can judge how much effort is put into something. Sending electronic messages has less impact than taking a pen and paper to make a more personal and a well-thought-of letter.
Shepherd believes that Snail Mail My Email enlightened some people about the higher value of handwritten letters. However, she also thinks that it is still better if the participants would start writing the letters themselves.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the differences of handwritten letters with e-mail messages?
·         How do you prefer to send your letters? Why?

Discussion B

·         How do you convey emotion through electronic messages?
·         What do you think about technology replacing real human interaction?

September 1, 2011