TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Traditional Mail Discouraged?

Traditional Mail Discouraged?
14 Apr 2005 12:35:11 -0700

I get the feeling organizations no longer want the public to contact
them via traditional postal mail. (No more "Keep those cards and
letters coming in").

I suspect this is largely due to the antrax attacks of Sept 11, but
possibly other factors as well (perhaps fear of walk-in attacks.)

I base this on:

1) Magazines traditionally have a "masthead" where the editors and
senior staff are listed. Traditionally, the addresses of the magazine
were clearly listed there as well (letters to the editor,
subscriptions, ads, etc.) I notice now no addresses are shown, and
maybe some are shown elsewhere in very fine print.

2) Film studios used to have their addresses listed but some no longer
do. Particuarly, the WB TV network refuses postal mail and has
everything returned to the sender.

Some organizations -- but by no means all -- offer email
or web comment screens. But these have limitations:

a) A certain percentage of mail is "crank" -- obvious nonsense, etc.
But writing a traditional letter still requires some effort and
postage. Email is easy and one can generate a great many crank emails
at the push of a button. Thus, recipients are flooded with much more
crank mail than in the past, which they have to weed through. There's
a greater chance a legitimate letter will be bypassed.

b) Lost in the shuffle: There's a far higher response rate to
traditional mail than email/web comments. Sometimes electronic means
never get delivered. Other times it's lost at the recipient's site.
Sometimes it's sent to someone incompetent to deal with it. (On a
number of occassions I've emailed an organization with a specific
question that was not addressed on their web page. Their answer was
to check the web page which of course was of no help.)

c) Lost with spam: Legitimate letters get mixed up with spam.

d) A piece of paper is durable: A paper letter or postcard is a
tangible item. An email is a fleeting image on a screen. If 10,000
people write a TV network urging to keep a TV show, they'll have bags
of mail sitting on the floor and that will say something to them. If
10,000 people email them, the server will probably crash and most will
never even make it through. For places with less volumes, that piece
of paper sits on someone's desk and calls for attention. It's a lot
easier psychologically to DEL an email than throw out a piece of

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