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Letter-writing in US down with Internet advance

 This handout image provided by the US Postal Service shows a postage stamp honoring Mark Twain. If Twain were alive today would he tweet: "OMG, repor...
 FILE - In this undated file black-and-white photo, author Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemen, is shown. If Twain were alive today would he tweet: "OMG, r...

Dead Letters

This handout image provided by the US Postal Service shows a postage stamp honoring Mark Twain. If Twain were alive today would he tweet: "OMG, repor...

Dead Letters

FILE - In this undated file black-and-white photo, author Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemen, is shown. If Twain were alive today would he tweet: "OMG, r...

The average U.S. household gets just one personal letter about every seven weeks, down from every two weeks in 1987, according to the U.S. Postal Service's annual survey, a sign of the revolutionary advances of the Internet as the primary method of communication.
The loss of that lucrative first-class mail, along with an increase in payment of bills online and a decline in other mail, is hitting the Postal Service hard. It is facing losses of up to $8 billion this year.
While many people write notes in the holiday and birthday cards they send, the post office doesn't include those in the letter category. Holiday and other greeting cards, as well as written invitations, have also gone down.
The change in the form of communication could have wide-ranging effects, experts say.
"One of the ironies for me is that everyone talks about electronic media bringing people closer together, and I think this is a way we wind up more separate," said Aaron Sachs, a professor of American Studies and History at Cornell University. We don't have the intimacy that we have when we go to the attic and read grandma's letters."
For academics and historians, the study of any subject that relies on correspondence _ culture, manners, husbands and wives, lovers, friends, brothers, historical business, political history _ could suffer a loss with the decline in letter-writing, Historian Kerby Miller of the University of Missouri-Columbia said.
There are also benefits for historians, including that email is easily searchable. But, the major advantage could be personal, Miller pointed out.
"Many of us used to always feel guilty because we never wrote enough _ remember all those letters from mom and dad? Well, if mom and dad have a computer it's much easier to dash off a note every day or so," Miller said. "So maybe all the consequences aren't going to be completely negative. Maybe a vast load of guilt will be lifted from the shoulders of the American people."
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Online:
http://www.usps.com/


Updated : 2021-10-28 00:13 GMT+08:00