Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Virtual card, a Facebook note... does it mean the same?

  February is a full Birthday month for my family. A sister and my two daughters and my brother and cousin all have birthdays this month. Also included in February was Sheila{my wife of 24 years} and her mother. Going to the store to pick out cards was an hour or better long process. Reading each card until you found just the right one for the person you were buying for. It was time consuming but to see the look on the receivers face as they read your card was priceless. Sometimes it was a phone call to say Thank you for the card they had received. No matter how it was given, the thank you was always nice to hear. It made you glad that you had taken the time to choose the card you did. The thank you was given with much heart because everyone respected the fact that each of our lives were busy and the thought that someone had taken the time to go out and search and find and send a card meant so much.
 Time has passed and technology came along. Real, physical cards were slowly replaced by virtual cards. Not such a bad thing, the "virtual" card made it possible for people that simply could not find the time to go out and buy a card to send one via "E-mail." This meant that people that might have just by-passed the sending of any kind of birthday or holiday card would still send a card through their e-mail. Beautiful cards, exactly like what you would find in a store were found and sent to friends and loved ones.  Most were free and could be personalized to say exactly what you wanted to say. Some said things you could not find in your own words to say. Still hugely used by so many, the "virtual" card sites have flourished and grown. The cards have evolved into "flash" and the scenes have become life-like and Beautiful. I myself have sent more than I can remember.
 Today, as my daughter celebrated her birthday, I was reading the newest way to say "Happy Birthday" or "I love you." It is becoming more excepted but I think my thoughts were no more than the same thoughts many have, only silently. As I read the "Happy Birthday's" that my daughter had received on Facebook, I heard her say a bit under her breath, "I better get a phone call or card from so and so." Social networks and writing on your status a message of endearment seems to be alright to many.
 That made me think about the time I had spent, opening, reading, listening to so many cards in Wal-Mart, searching for just the right card to give to her. The joy and the smiles that came with looking were part of the very reason I was there. There was such a difference in handing her the card, watching her read it and listening to her laughter than what would have come from her seeing a "happy birthday, daughter" on line. 
 I also wondered what she would have felt if for some reason she could not get on-line today? Would she wondered if anyone remembered her birthday? How sad a thought is THAT???? I am not saying that the on-line happy birthdays were not appreciated. They do make one smile. But the truth is, it can NOT replace the feeling inside of knowing someone cared enough to take time out of what is a very busy world and find a card... even a "virtual" card, and send it to you. I think that the "Net" has the potential to make us "lazy" in our sending of special cards for special moments. It is easier to just put a quick note up and say "There, now I have sent them a greeting." It just doesn't seem the same to me as taking the time to find a card that says you care.
 Do I think it means the same to put up "happy birthday" or "best wishes in your new life" on a social site, for all the world to see as it does to send something personal? Absolutely not. Something seems to get lost in the quick write or the extremely impersonal sending of a greeting that is sent not just to the person it is meant for, but sent for all the world to see. Impersonal begets impersonal and suddenly people you have never met in your life are sending the greeting because they saw it posted by their friend, you. It sort of puts your own greeting in the same place. Impersonal.
 Evolution is wonderful and today's technology has brought worlds together. But sometimes, now and then, we need to make things personal again. We need to let our friend or loved one know that they are special. One in a million not one OF a million. To group them with a million unknown people doesn't really do that to me. Just a thought I was thinking.     


KB said...

I love browsing in my local card shop. I get as much enjoyment from finding the right card as recieving one. I do send ecards to my internet friends to keep costs down. I enjoy receiving both types of cards. I believe in the old saying... it's the thought that counts. Take care sweetie x

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