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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I hate e-cards. They are just another vehicle for cultural neglect, allowing people that don’t care and can’t be bothered to pretend that they do. I don’t know what folks think that a dancing birthday cake flash animation tells other folks, even with its 200-character personalized message fifteen minutes later. To me it screams “I can’t be bothered to write a few sentence son a piece of paper, address an envelope, and put it in the mail for you.”

Handwritten cards take thought, time, and planning. I can schedule to send a unique repeating birthday card to you over e-mail for the next fifteen years, and you’ll only realize that it’s a website doing all the work when I keel over in four years and you still get a card the year after. Feel the love!

This is not to say that the intent behind e-cards is all wrong. I know that people send them with sincere feelings and thoughts, but I just don’t think they have the same meaning as a hand-written card or letter, much in the way that gift certificates have often replaced the need to get to know somebody or put some thought into a present.

Alternatively, maybe e-cards are a political protest about the inefficacy of the national postal system, or a stance against the pollution of the paper industry and wasted energy and deforestation caused by your resident fine stationery provider.

I guess personally they just feel cold and lifeless, a seeming convenience that instead professes neglect and indifference

I feel the same way about electronic party invitations or wedding invitations. On one hand, I understand the elegance of an electronic bookkeeping system that automatically handles RSVPs, keeps track of who hasn’t responded, and all that jazz, but these systems bleed the life out of the social dance, and inundate me with flash, animated graphics, and advertisements along the way. Maybe it’s part of the far more spontaneous nature of parties and get-togethers these days, which are more a matter of “throw some booze and snacks and enough people at a problem” instead of “plan a seven course dinner, preceded by cocktails, followed by parlour games, and featuring a carefully matched guest list that will find no end to things about which to converse.”

Maybe this is what people several decades my senior felt when the Internet first showed up, and email started deprecating many phone conversations, just as the phone itself started deprecating many legacy forms of communication before it. Am I just being old-fashioned?