It’s time for a slow message movement. Much like Carlo Petrini, who founded the Slow Food movement, I think we need to step away from the fast food treatment of our written word.
Petrini wanted to protest a McDonalds franchise opening in Rome in the late ‘80s, so he hosted a pasta feast with his friends to emphasize the beauty, appreciation, and enjoyment of real food. A movement was born, and now there are at least 100,000 people in 150 countries, all committed to local food and the traditions associated with it.
I lived in Sicily for a few years and experienced the Slow Food movement, although I had no idea it was even a thing. It just seemed like a way of life, lunches and suppers were leisurely events. At the time, many Sicilians still observed reposo, much like a siesta, where shops closed after lunch and then reopened at 4 in the afternoon. The locals saw no need to rush through much of anything, except driving, but instead, they valued the time spent around a table talking and savoring the simple, yet delicious food.
It is that same mindset that I think needs to come back to our communications. We have become fast food consumers of everything: instant messages, texts, and abbreviated emails. Just last week I talked with a social media expert who predicted that soon email will fade away and all contact will be through instant message. That idea bothers me, yet it doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had several clients ask for information, but then don’t bother to read my response all the way through. Instead, they have swiped on to the next message and the next.
While I see the value in quick communications, I also mourn the loss of the slower communiqué – handwritten letters and cards sent via snail mail.
Last week we observed Veteran’s Day. Many people on Facebook replaced their profile photos with pictures of family members who served. I went on the hunt to find a photo of my dad in his WWII Navy uniform, instead, I got sidetracked by looking through a box of his things, which happened to include all the handwritten letters to his mother while he was in the South Pacific aboard the USS Cascade. He didn’t know my mother yet, but he faithfully wrote my grandmother and his best friend’s mother. Besides having beautiful penmanship, my father wrote of the happenings of his day, describing his friends and fellow sailors, funny stories and how he planned to return home and get back to farming as soon as he could.
Of all the things from my parent’s house after they passed, my father’s handwritten letters are one of the most precious. The wispy Air Mail paper, the elegant penmanship, and the glimpse into his young adult life connects me to a man I never knew. He died while I was in high school, and the most I knew about his time in the Navy was when he inspected how well we kids polished our shoes.
It’s time for a slow message movement. Our nerves are frazzled, our senses overloaded with constant updates, and the instant response we all have come to expect.
What can you do to spread this movement? Handwrite a letter, use one of those lovely journals you bought years ago and start writing in it, read a book made from paper and ink. Read a bit slower, savor the words, the nuances, and the meaning.
Try it, and let me know how it works for you. (In this case you can send it in a text or email).
As an author, copywriter and editor, I help clients tell their story through blog posts, web page copy, articles and books. I’d love to talk to you about your writing needs. I can be reached through Susan@ASAPWritingServices.com.