What’s a Pen-Pal?


Have you noticed that kids don’t have real pen-pals anymore? Just in-case you forgot what those were or it’s before your time I’ll explain. A pen-pal was usually someone from a different country that you wrote letters to about your different cultures; usually assigned to you by your teacher to teach cultural differences. Pen-pals died out as soon as social networking became popular. There was no point in having a teacher assigning different pen-pals to students if they can go meet those people and other creepy strangers on Facebook (well I guess back then it was Friendster or Myspace). Even though you can talk to those people online why would you want to? Being on the same social network as you shows no cultural differences; chatting online wouldn’t even help build your communication skills because it wouldn’t be as professional as a letter you write in class. Media not just social media is “competing” with normal social interacting, (it’s true! A dude named E. Rossi said so!) and in my opinion is winning! If you look around so many people are casting away what we call normal and replacing it with tweets, chatting and reality TV. The uses and gratification theory basically says that we all have a reason or purpose for using media and is made up of five “basic assumptions.” The third basic assumption is that “the media competes with other sources of need satisfaction,” which is your Facebook and your telephone competing against each other to get you to use them. Imagine and epic battle over who you will use to tell your friends about your new boyfriend… instead of calling the people who would care why not just post it on Facebook and add it as a “Life Event” on your “Timeline”? Facebook clearly wins that battle. I guess my point is that we constantly let media win theses battles; i’m guilty I admit… I rarely plan anything with people in person; what’s the point? Facebook made it so easy. Sending invitations by mail is soooooo 1990!


Here, read an article about some of the stuff I said? http://guy-lecky-thompson.suite101.com/facebook-good-or-bad-for-communication-a121387



2 responses »

  1. I agree I think that people interact through social media more than anything else. Is is a bad thing? No, I just think that for children of this generation might potentially lack proper social skills. I remember having a pen pal in grade 3 that I used to write back and forth each month. Not to mention chain letters! Those were the thing! I guess Facebook and twitter and texting is the thing and will continue to be the thing! Great post! I wish I still had a pen pal!!

  2. This definitely brought back some memories. I remember having a pen pal and how exciting it was to open the envelope that had just come in. It saddens me that my children probably won’t even know what a stamp is. For all the good that social media does, I feel like it saps a lot of the “hands on” experience that writing used to have. But that’s not just social media, its technology in general. I remember writing letters and papers and skipping lines so that someone could go revise it in red pen. The days of peer-editing with bright pen colors are coming to an end, as are the days of pen pals.

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