See No, Hear No, Speak No Tech Messages

Would you rather get a handwritten, heart-felt, spelling errors-and-all note through snail mail or a typed note, processed by spell-check and delivered to your e-mail in-box?

I don’t know how my co-worker and I landed on this conversation on our drive back to the office after lunch today, but never-the-less, we couldn’t see eye-to-eye on the matter.

She thinks I’m sappy (my word, not hers) and prefer objects over ideas.

Can’t I have both?

E-mail is great for many things — reaching people on their schedule and getting information quickly without having to deal with extra conversation. It’s wonderful for business and arrives in monotone (sometimes I have a hard time deciding if someone is joking with me or being serious — thank goodness for smiley faces and emoticons!)

E-mail’s biggest drawback is its impersonal tone.

Even Dear Abby agrees, according to a column published in the Daily Globe a few weeks ago.

In it, Abby said, “While composing a letter may always be a chore to some people, there are occasions when the written message is the only proper means of communication. It shows effort and can become a keepsake.” She also said a handwritten note is “much more memorable.”

While Kari is perfectly happy getting a thank-you note e-mailed to her (she keeps them), I read and delete. On the other hand, if a person took the time to send me a hand-written note, I display it on my desk and eventually put it in my drawer (to be taken out and read when I’m having a bad day.)

By the time we arrived back at the office, Kari was trying to convince me an e-mailed love letter was equally as personal as a handwritten one. Granted, Kari’s handwriting is usually difficult to translate, but I know if she took her time and tried to write legibly, she could do it.

Do people even write love letters anymore — hand-written or typed? I don’t know … I guess that says a lot!

Technology has changed communication so much in recent years. There is a 10-year age difference between me and Kari, but I don’t think that can even explain our difference of opinion on delivery of the written word.

She prefers e-mails and text messages, and I prefer face-to-face or telephone conversations.

Several months ago, Kari managed to block my phone number (not on purpose), sending my calls directly to her voicemail. This wouldn’t be so bad if she’d listen to the voicemails, but she doesn’t want to learn how to access her messages. She said she is “trying to teach me to text.”

With her education background in philosophy, she then wanted to “understand” my preferred communication methods by rank.

I responded with face-to-face, telephone, e-mail, Skype (which I have no idea how to operate and no desire to learn) and text — that’s my order and I’m sticking to it!

Kari’s response: Hmm.

And with that, our face-to-face conversation was over.