My daughter and I have been exchanging letters now for quite a while and it's been good. A few weeks ago during a video conference she mentioned that email was now a possibility. She had access to an email account and it would certainly speed up the whole process and allow her to send me some videos. I've been thinking about the prospect of emailing each other for a while but I've been reluctant to bring it up for many reasons. So I'd just been waiting for her to suggest it.
My biggest fear is a shortage of content. I've done a lot of blogging over the year, even way back before it was called blogging and it's a real struggle to keep finding new things to write about, I've limited this blog to weekly updates for this very reason. With emails it's even worse because you're communicating to a limited audience. When we were writing letters I'd have several weeks between communications to stock up a few things to write about. As soon as I'd post one letter I'd start stocking up on things to say in the next, sometimes I'd even get a head start and have most of my next letter written and ready by the time her reply arrived. Where letters are short stories and a summary of events emails are more like conversation, which can quickly become difficult to keep alive and interesting.
There are a couple other problems that have presented themselves as well.
First off email has this way of applying pressure. Both she and I immediately noted how much more stressful it is knowing that you've not replied to an email rather than a letter. Delivery is instantaneous so you lose all the leeway time that the letter's 6000 mile journey afforded. The convenience of email makes you much more aware of your response time, it only takes a minute after all and the recipient knows that it only takes a minute and you know that they know that you know etc... It's like trying not to answer a ringing phone.
The multimedia messages have largely gone unused thus far but then I'd long been including photos with my letters and she'd once written a letter with an array of differently scented markers, so the multimedia prospect isn't really going to change things much. Saying that, she has just acquired a new video camera.
So while it's not become a problem yet I expect that it will soon. Video messages in particular are large, so there's upload time and email storage space is going to be an issue, not to mention the technical aspect of connecting the camera in the first place, but we'll see how it goes for now.
So upgrade we have, to more modern communicational means. Hopefully it won't degrade the quality too much. No doubt in a few years we'll be friending each other on facebook or whatever other social network is popular at the time.