Jonathan Weinberg writes…
For those outside the UK, the reason for this rant won’t mean much but the wider implications affect us all wherever we live. We’re currently in the grip of a nationwide wildcat postal strike in Britain and it’s started to get me more steamed up than that kettle you use to open your partner’s letters.
And it got me thinking, what’s the point of post anyway now we have email. I’ve had a pile of stamps sitting on my desk for months.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for workers rights, fair pay for a fair day and all that, and I love my new postie, he’s very friendly and helpful. But the sooner everyone switches over to electronic delivery and snail mail dies off, the better life will be.
After all, you don’t need to post a complaint letter to a company any more, you can simply paste it into the body of message or attach it as a Word doc. I regularly do that. That’s if the firm’s website hasn’t already offered you a handy form to fill in. I can send off my invoices via email and pay all my bills online using electronic payment so there’s no need to send cheques.
It’s estimated that the number of emails sent per day worldwide is around 171 billion, almost two million every second. Mind you, 70 per cent are said to be spam but that’s no different to the vast amount of junk we get through our letterboxes.
Ok, so email can go missing into the great big black hole in cyberspace but certainly less so than deliveries by hand. And yes, sure it’s impersonal, but it’s fast and efficient and in today’s society that’s far more important than putting ink to paper.
Even parcels from the likes of Amazon could well be on their way out. Who actually needs to order CDs when you can download MP3s and burn them yourself and books in digital form are surely the next big thing once Sony and its competitors finally get their e-reading gadgets looking sexier and make them easier to use and most importantly, cheaper.
A lot of magazines now also offer web versions you can flick through on screen, cutting the need for a postal subscription.
There’s only one thing I can really see being a problem – and that’s birthday cards! There’s nothing like ripping opening that envelope to find a crisp £10 note inside from your grandparents or aged aunt. And somehow I can’t see them ever mastering PayPal!
Jonathan Weinberg is a technology writer who honed his tabloid skills at The Sun and hates the taste of licking stamps.