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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Keeping in Touch: The Case for E-cards

"A vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your life."

~ Winston Churchill

If you told me two years ago that I would ever make a case for e-cards, I'd have rolled my eyes. These days I try not to reject electronic means of communication blatantly because I know there's a very good chance I'll eventually change my mind. I liken myself to the Amish in this respect, I watch technology do its thing from a distance before I decide if it's ultimately good or bad for me. After a few years, the verdict on e-cards is: good. Don't get me wrong, they don't replace the letter (nothing does), but they do have a place. For sentimental value, I seat them above e-mails and Facebook wall posts, but below letters.

Case in point: My friend Sarah e-mailed me earlier this week and casually mentioned that she's pregnant. Writing back and saying "Congratulations" with six hundred exclamation points could not convey the joy I felt. I wanted to do something special but I also wanted to do it immediately. Thus I sent her an e-card. A few other reasons I find them valuable:

It's Instant: The only thing communication today has on communication of the past is speed. Yes, it's a big plus. If you remember someone's birthday the day of or you find out someone is pregnant or engaged, then an e-card allows for instant celebration.

Something is Better than Nothing: Often times, we have the best of intentions as far as sending actual cards, but we don't always get around to it. In this case, it's better to send an e-card than overlook the occasion.

It's Time for Something Different: There are people, such as my friend Patrick, who I write to often. He's always doing nice things for me, and therefore I'm always sending him thank you notes. This past weekend he treated me to a lovely dinner, and I thought I'd send him an e-card to change it up a little. The note I sent was from Paperless Post (link below)--a company that does an outstanding job of making e-cards look like actual cards!

It's Effective: I have laughed out loud at many e-cards. I've forwarded them to friends saying, "You have to see this!" No, you can't put them in a shoebox, but you can enjoy them once, twice, maybe even seven times. You can't go wrong with something that makes you smile.

My favorite e-cards are from (for animated e-cards) and (for elegant, letter-like e-cards).

Samara O'Shea is an author and professional letter writer. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter.

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