Intimacy is the best word I can find to describe the feeling I have when I see a letter from my friend. Intimacy that isn’t present in social media which are public by definition. Intimacy that I cannot find in instant messaging apps.
This magical part of slow correspondence is something I miss everyday. But my problem with it is much deeper. There’s something underneath the longing for outdated communication channels.
I miss love. Not romantic love, that I thankfully experience every day. I miss friend’s love. Agape. I miss meaning. I miss being part of someone’s life.
We all rush every day, we all run somewhere and we all look for instant everything. We don’t have time for stopping by, we don’t have time for a stranger and a friend. I’ve been missing this feeling that accompanied opening the letter from dear friend, but it isn’t the longing for a sheet of paper or an envelope icon in the computer dock. No, it’s the longing for long-gone relationships and for past living experience.
Everything has to be instant now. Instant food and instant communicators. I miss getting letters. I miss sitting on the bench in long summer nights with a friend who loved me and who had a time.
Some will tell me, that they have still have them. They still have friends and they still have long summer nights. Do they? Could they just meet with someone spontaneously and spend together long hours talking and dreaming, watching the sunset together and be together? Or maybe they need to plan the meeting in advance, organize the life and then postpone a few times until they finally meet for two hours in busy coffee shop with ringing phones in theirs pockets?
I think it’s clear for you my friend that this posts isn’t about letters. It’s about relationships and about what we all miss. It is about the connection. It is about the meaning.
Someone who’s taking their time to write a letter, a real letter, is someone who cares. Can the chat app give the same feeling? It can. Because the problem isn’t in apps, it is in our lack of time. To have meaningful conversation by chat app means finding the exact same amount of time that writing a letter.
I have those conversations. I value them a lot. And i recognize that there are… letters. When the message is to long to be displayed by chat app, when I wait for a message for two or three days, when I read, and think, and reply after few hours when I know what I want to say – it is a letters exchange. It is slow correspondence.
It has the meaning. Thank you all, who have time in your lives to talk with me, to discuss what’s important and what’s silly, to spend time together even when we’re on different continents. Thank you for taking your time to think, to really think about what you want to say.
The problem with instant communication isn’t the app, it’s the expectation and the necessity to reply, well, instantly. I cannot find even one single reason why we must reply as soon as we get the message. I can’t find one. When something bad happens, no one is sending a message, everyone is calling, only calling another person can give us the instant feedback we need in crisis. But building the relationship isn’t the crisis, it is a time consuming activity that cannot be accelerated.
And the rush kills the intimacy. The feeling of haste cause our minds to feel endangered. The constant flock of incoming messages can give us a panic attack, not meaningful conversation.
I think it’s time for me to abandon all social media. I quit almost all of them some time ago, but there’s Mastodon. I’m struggling with it. I met great people and I made friends thanks to it. There’s a a lot of value out there and there’s a great community. But I’m struggling. There are days when I enjoy being there and there are days when I’m tired of it. I think I’m just not a public person at all, and writing posts that can be commented by everyone is not for me. My blog posts also can be commented, publicly, on someone’s else blog, or by email. But it takes time and effort and I have never seen someone’s doing this with a bad will.
I’m not leaving yet, I’m still looking for a better way to be here and to not be tired of being here. There’s also a good thing about my doubts – I’m going to write here more often and I’m going to write shorter posts, maybe some kind of weekly updates or something. I need a place to express myself, but does it have to be another social platform? The internet is the best social platform. I’m sure those who want to have a relationship with me will find a way to contact me and I’m sure those who want to be a part of my life – they will be.
I hope they will write me a letter. I wish they will. And I promise them I will reply and I promise them, they will experience this amazing intimate moment of reading words from beloved friend who cares.
Blog posts are also letters. I have a very special folder in my reader called “Friends”. There I have put the blogs of a few special people in my life. And I feel excited every time I see a new post there. I keep it unread until I find a moment with a cup of coffee and a silent place to read it. And I read as I would read a letter. Because it is a letter. It is a letter to me, and to others who I don’t even know but we have a comment friend. This is the sense of connection only letters can provide.
I’m going to write you letters. Personal and private letters that will wait in your mailbox until you find them. I’m going to write you personal and public letters as well, those will wait in your reader until you find time to read them.
Let’s write letters, let’s do that together. Let’s connect with friends and friends of friends and let’s build a community we all deserve.