Remember the mail? You know, the paper, arrives-at-your-door-via-postal-employee kind? I know it’s not very trendy to communicate in such an archaic way. It’s not earth-friendly, it’s not time efficient, and by the time you receive news in the mail you’ve probably already heard about whatever it was seventeen times via email, Twitter, Facebook and text message. But there are some things worthy of more than just a status update—of being communicated the old-fashioned way, with paper and stamps and lick-able envelopes.
Looking ahead (with all fingers crossed) to the happy news we’ll want to share when #2 makes his way into the world, there’s one thing I’m sure of: His delivery won’t be micro-blogged in real time via Twitter. He won’t be announced on Facebook. And any friends or family members who wish to meet #2 promptly had better keep him off their status updates, too!
I once waited nine hours for an update on a dear friend who’d gone totally incommunicado after arriving at the hospital to have her second baby. I was checking my texts nonstop when, for a distraction, I logged on to Facebook. Where I promptly learned she’d had a 7 pound, 7ounce baby girl at 9:31pm—from a mutual friend’s status update. Grrrrrr.
Are birth announcements truly a thing of the past? Most of my friends have decided to skip them in favor of emails with photos attached, sent directly from their Blackberries before they’ve even been wheeled out of the delivery room. Why waste time and paper sending out what’s sure to be old news by the time it’s received? Emails, tweets and Facebook status updates are faster, greener, and way less labor intensive. Shouldn’t every self-respecting member of the social media generation skip the traditional birth announcement altogether?
I love the mail. The personal kind, that is. I could do without the tree-murdering flyers, catalogues and credit card applications that land on my doorstep every day, unasked for and unwanted. But receiving party invitations, thank you notes, holiday cards, and yes, birth announcements, are always an unexpected, welcome perk on the rare occasions they arrive mixed in with all the garbage. Contrary to my mother’s belief, I’ve never considered a baby announcement a bid for a gift—I’m just thrilled to open a cute card with a teddy bear on it and read some exciting news instead of putting yet another car insurance offer through the shredder.
E’s birth announcement is framed in her room; I still love looking at it. It also appears as the first (OK, only so far) page of her baby book. I’m looking forward to putting #2’s announcement in a frame, too, and…um…buying him a baby book to paste it into. I like the permanence of it, the tactile feel of heavy stock paper. I’m even looking forward to addressing the envelopes and licking them closed, sort of a meditation on how happy and blessed we are to have this kind of news to share.
Yes, I’m a card-carrying member of the social media movement. I’m a blogger, after all—online networking is a huge part of my job, and also my life. If it weren’t for Facebook I wouldn’t have a clue about what any of my friends are up to. Twitter helps me connect with other people in my line of work, and keeps me up to date on current events without actually having to watch the news, read it online or (gasp!) pick up a newspaper. If it weren’t for the “Like” button, I might never be able to tell my family and friends that I’m thinking about them, or proud of them, or that they’re witty and interesting (even though I think these things in my own head all the time.)
But there’s a line that should be drawn when it comes to sharing news on the internet. If you’ve been promoted, published, or proposed to—hurray! Update your status and shout your news to the world! But if you’ve lost a loved one, are fighting with your husband, or are in the delivery room 10cm dilated and about to push sans epidural? There are some things the whole cyber world shouldn’t need to know.
So today I ordered birth announcements. Pre-ordered, to be exact—because my type-A self wants my birth announcement mailing list (handily accessible in an Excel spreadsheet) updated ahead of time, plus all the envelopes pre-addressed and stamped. When #2 comes, all I’ll have to do is call the company with his name and stats, and our baby news will be on its merry, antiquated way.
Yes, we’ll send an email. Yes, we’ll probably include a knitted pink-and-blue hat, plastic bassinet picture or two. We’re human, after all. And having a baby doesn’t mean J and I aren’t still slaves to our smartphones. But we’re going to do it the “IRL” way too—so if even if it’s old news by the time they receive it, our friends and loved ones will be getting a “#2’s HERE!” status update that requires no log-in or password. Just a good old-fashioned mailing address!
Is anyone else out there still attached to paper birth announcements? Or are you saving the environment—and the cash for stamps—to do it the newer, hipper, social media way? Share here!
Visit Jenny’s personal blog at www.karmacontinued.com