There’s definitely something to be said for physical writing and correspondence. It just feels more real. That’s why I write for a blog; it’s like playing pretend. But really, I can see why people would want to send and receive physical snail mail despite not having the time or force-of-will to sit down and write it. That’s where Snail Mail My Email comes in. These lovely folks will take your email, painstakingly write it on actual paper, place it in an actual envelope and send it in the actual mail. Or at least thats what they were doing until they were swamped with requests.
And how could they not be? The entire service is free and based around donations and volunteers with, presumably, better handwriting than I have. Due to the massive response of both requests (it’s over 900!) and volunteers (over 220), the project has been put on hold indefinitely so that its structure can be reevaluated. Considering the massive demand of requests and supply of volunteers, it seems certain this project will come back after some reorganization. The only question is whether or not monetary donations will come in a sufficient quantity and regular enough basis to keep things afloat.
As cool as this project is, double so since it is staffed by volunteers who just love the written word, you can’t deny the fact that it is hemorrhaging money. After all, it has to be. One of the things that allowed the internet to asplode with emails was the fact that emails are essentially free. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is a potential Vicodin salesman without so much as having to buy a stamp. Likewise, a five-word email is no less efficient than a 500-word one. Of course, people inclined to use this email-to-snail mail conversion service are likely to remember what makes snail mail different, but still, the service requires a constant supply of physical consumables that no number of volunteers can produce unless they are wizards or something.
If the project can find a way to stay free, more power to them. If they find it necessary to swap over to a small fee, at least enough to cover the cost of paper, envelopes and stamps, I’m sure they won’t lose out on too many requests. Now if only they could find a way to let me lick the envelope over the web.