Before the Internet, we used to sent greeting cards. These including cards for birthdays, graduations, weddings, illness, thank-yous, and sympathy (for illness or death). Now, the Internet allows us to send our thoughts and wishes through email, tweets, social network postings, and electronic greeting cards.
For many people, this is an acceptable way to save time, money, and paper, and still express our caring. For others, it is not proper. For example, my cousin had a birthday last week, so I post my best wishes on Facebook. He happy to receive my greetings. In contrast, my grandmother did not enjoyed receiving birthday greetings over the Internet. She told me to call her if I didn't had the money to send her a card. I think she angry! When I was little, she would always sent me a card on every birthday. I used to looking forward to receiving her cards. So, I will continue the card-sending tradition with her.
In addition to the age of the receiver, the occasion makes a difference. While most of you wouldn't mind a birthday greeting online, you probably would mind a condolence online. Last month, I had to buy the first greeting card of the year. It was for a friend whose father died. I didn't want to post a public message offering sympathy. Instead, I sent a card with some words of sympathy. In the past, we used to visit the friend and bring food, but that is changing now too.
Offering sympathy is also better in person. Yesterday, I called a friend who was sick. I think he appreciated hearing my voice more than anything I could buy or write. In the past, we were used to talk almost everyday.
As the Internet changes our interactions, we have to re-think the customs that we used to. In some cases, we can express our love and caring electronically, but in other cases we need to express it on paper or in person.
condolence (n.) – sympathy for someone who has had something bad happen to them, especially when someone has died.
interactions (n.) – the ways we communicate and behave with others
sympathy (n.) – the feeling of being sorry for someone who is in a bad situation
would mind (v.) – object to, be bothersome; as in Would you mind if I sat here?