“SLOWCIAL NETWORKING” HAS FAR MORE IMPACT THAN TWEETING, STUDY FINDS – Cards and letters have six times the impact of tweets

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Research for Clintons finds that a handwritten thank you letter or card has six times the impact of a thank you tweet. In the study, commissioned by card makers Clintons, researchers found that, while 160 billion instant messages were sent last year, it’s the hand written gestures that make people feel happy.

In an Omnibus poll of 2017 adults, 79% of respondents said they liked receiving a handwritten, hand selected card or letter through the post, compared to 13% who said that they liked receiving a Tweet. In another study, Clintons found that the average UK adult writes between 25 and 50 words by hand per week – fewer than ten a day.

Surprisingly, antipathy to digital greetings reaches into the first fully digital generation. Only 7% of 18-24 year olds said they were happy to receive a thank-you via text.

Tim Fairs, director at Clintons, said: “There’s a fairly widely held view that a speedy thank you carries more weight but our research suggests the opposite. Technology has possibly made it too easy for us to thank – and the result is that it has less value to the recipient. Social networking is a great way of feeling connected but our poll shows that letters and cards are still the unrivalled super-social network. In fact, as our data reveals, a misplaced tweet or status update can in fact be anti-social networking.”

While Twitter, founded March 2006, turned eight this year and has 255 million active users, the act of card giving can be traced back to New Year celebrations in ancient China. The ancient Egyptians also used papyrus scrolls for greetings. The first known published Christmas card appearing in London in 1843.

The UK card market currently has a value of £1,372 million, according to the 2013 Greeting Card Market Report by the Greeting Card Association (GCA). The same GCA report reveals that £55.3 million is spent on Mother’s Day cards per year and £42.5 million on Valentine’s Day. The Christmas single card market brings in £164.4 million and charities estimate £50 million funds are raised each year through charity Christmas card sales. An average of 13 cards are sent per person per annum in the UK.

However, we must not just look at the economy as regards to cards and letters, whether for manufacturers of such cards, retailers or the postal service but at the impact that cards and letters actually have on connectedness with friends and family, especially on the side of the recipient.

A letter, whether handwritten or typed, has a much greater impact than any Tweet, Facebook message or even email. It is something that you can hold and keep rather that just see and store (or delete) and, if you store it on your PC you lose when the PC fails.

Younger people, who are of the “always on always connected” generation are indeed the ones who appear to be the first to go retro in many aspects, from switching from smartphones back to the old style cellphones, buying and using old typewriters, even and especially manual ones, and using notebooks and pens, including fountain pens, again, and this is, in my opinion, a good move.

Personally, while using email for business and speedy communications, and also Facebook, sending and receiving proper letters, sent via snail mail or other means, to me has much greater impact and also a much more personal touch, and that not only for communications between friends and family. On top of that letters, cards. Memos, etc., can be stored much better in hard-copy for future reference than they can, as far as I am concerned, in a filing cabinet or whatever takes your fancy; it can even be a shoebox.

The same goes for notebooks and paper diaries – I know I am old-fashioned, but then again I do not care either whether I am perceived as that – as opposed to anything electronic and, in addition to that, I can lay my hands on my notes and what-have-you even when there is no power or the system is down for any other reason. This is a lot more than can be said for stuff on the computer, a server or, god forbid, the cloud, when things are not working right.

Having seen often enough now the problems that occur with virtual desktop environment that when the server(s) is (are) down no one can even do any work on the computers simply because everything is stored on the server and there is no hard drive I would conclude that paper is still far superior.

Clintons was founded in 1968 and is a leading retailer of greeting cards, gifts and wrap. There are currently over 400 stores all over the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as a transactional website.

The company is managed by Schurman Retail Group. Schurman Retail Group operates 400 stores in North America, under its retail brands, PAPYRUS, NIQUEA.D, American Greetings Retail, Carlton Cards Retail and Paper Thread. Schurman Retail Group has deep experience in the development of retail brands, specifically featuring personal expression, lifestyle products.

© 2014

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