Infusing a Little Analog Into Your Digital Life

thank_you_cardImagine this: attendees at a conference are flocking to a table filled with greeting cards where they can choose among “thank you,” “happy birthday” and “congratulations” greetings, write something nice (hopefully), lick the envelope and place it in the makeshift, Lucite mailbox.

This was the clever idea from American Greetings, which had an executive from the greeting card company speaking at this conference, the Experiential Marketing Summit, and showcased its brand outside the meeting room. The other cool, economical thing was that you didn’t have to put a stamp on the card – American Greetings would mail it for you. The mailbox was filling up with cards throughout the day. People were happy. They were practicing writing with a pen. And someone on the other end of this stunt was going to get something nice in the mail, not in the email.

How analog, right? What great exercise, I say!

When was the last time you hand-wrote a thank you card? When was the last time you took out that stack of business cards you collected at an event and called (actually, phoned) those new contacts? And admit that it took a lot for you to resist posting on Instagram that beautiful dessert set before you at last weekend’s dinner.

If you never put pen to paper again or if you never phone a friend again you will be OK. We will all be OK. But I submit that if we apply some analog thinking to our digital life, we and those around us will benefit.

If we infused some olden days sensibility to the way we approach social media, we might make more meaningful connections. Showing appreciation in a tweet the way we might write a thank-you note, or talking to our friends on Facebook the way we’d actually talk to them in person would can keep authenticity in check. Being in the moment rather than in the Instagram moment would allow us to truly engage with whomever we are sharing that dessert with. Because life goes by in a snap.

Just as Twitter or Facebook are communications platforms, so too are the greeting card and your phone. On any given day, you have an abundance of platforms and scenarios by which to say Thank You or Hello or Great Job to someone you know or want to get to know. And when words fail us, we can always fall back on what communications experts, futurists and others are calling the language of the future: emojis.

In his humble opinion, Kanye West told Surface magazine that the future of communication does not include talking: “I don’t think people are going to talk in the future,” he explained. “They’re going to communicate through eye contact, body language, emojis, signs.”

To this, I have to say: 😱

— Diane Schwartz

@dianeschwartz