A new social media application is taking the world by storm, but this time it’s the senior citizens leading the charge.
The new craze among the over-60 brigade is ‘letter’, a process of writing down 1-2 pages of reflections, thoughts and updates about the writer’s life. The ‘letter’ is then placed in an envelope and sent to a unique address. Recipients of letters are then able to reply to the original sender.
Already the latest networking craze has attracted an enormous following. Australia Post spokesperson Karen Reynolds said the service delivered “hundreds of millions” of letters just in 2008, despite some teething problems.
“During peak times that senior citizens are using the ‘letter’ service, such as lunchtime at local shopping centres, our service has crashed under the strain of high traffic in Australia Post stores,” she said.
Social media commentator Dirk Vergenboom said that once the application got started, users took it in some unusual directions.
“After the initial novelty of sending traditional letters wore off, some of the more enterprising users started putting $5 notes in cards and sending them to their grandkids for birthdays,” said Vergenboom. “It has really taken on a life of its own.”
Variations have quickly sprung up, with people writing ‘love letters’ and even ‘ransom letters’. And already the application has caught the eye of professional spammers, who are already sending ‘chain letters’.
Vergenboom said that the letter application was a reflection of shifting communication trends.
“The days of one-to-many ‘broadcast’ communication are over. People are looking for highly customised, personalised one-to-one experiences. ‘Letter’ is such an obvious way to meet that need, it’s a wonder no-one thought of it before.”