Returning to E-mail
I've been using e-mail again. For a long time now e-mail has primarily existed so that I can receive parcel and tracking information. With iMessage and social media I rarely had personal exchanges via e-mail anymore. Now that I've closed my social media accounts, including apps such as Telegram or Whatsapp, I've needed to use e-mail again to maintain regular contact with certain friends.
The majority of my friends have iPhones, including those overseas. So where texting would incur international charges I can generally use iMessage, which is more feature rich than old-fashioned SMS anyway. For those friends who do not use iMessage there were always Twitter DMs or some other method which is now closed to me. This was the right choice for me, but it has meant that I needed to consider how to make the most of those relationships where contact would no longer by quite so instantaneous.
The thing is that I didn't realise that I kinda missed writing e-mails. It's been a return to more long-form communication, a few paragraphs at once instead of a sentence or two in rapid exchange. It's satisfying to compose your thoughts into a more verbose narrative; to include more detail and more of your thoughts than the immediately necessary. There's less instant gratification but more meaning and substance to it. It takes a little longer and you have to give more thought to structure. You need to have a clear idea of the things you want to talk about, and you have to craft that narrative with the recipient in mind.
Of course this also changes the way you read the communication you receive. There's more to digest; there's no way to glance at a notification and get the gist of the message. You have to make sure you have a couple of minutes to actually pay attention and give the words more thought. It seems really obvious, but when you are used to having a lot of your communication delivered in one-hundred and forty characters or less, then six-hundred to a thousand words feels remarkably different. It has more weight and substance — there's more to absorb and without the immediacy of modern text-based communication while it isn't accurate to the moment it is able to communicate more of the nuances of the experiences you're reading about.
I've had the urge again to actually go a step further and write some actual paper letters to a few people. Not as a regular deal, but as an unusual, and hopefully memorable event. I'm sure my grandparents would be horrified by the notion of writing a letter as an amusing novelty but instant communication around the world is a simple reality of day to day life for almost all of us today.