A colleague, who anointed me as the Queen of Handwritten Notes and dubbed herself the Runner-Up, sent me an article about a company that has automated the process in the college admissions arena. Yes, that is correct, a machine is replicating “handwritten” notes, apparently with such realism that unsuspecting prospective students believe the school took the time to pen a note themselves.
Isn’t the whole point of handwritten to be personal and authentic, and doesn’t automation fly in the face of that?
The lesson that I take away from this reinforces the power of a legitimate handwritten note. In these days of mass production, a note with penmanship stands out among the junk mail, email, form letters and the like. Even cards for occasions such as birthdays or Christmas are being replaced with social media posts, e-newsletters or texts, all of which allows a handwritten note to make an impression.
I am saddened by this company who will now inject cynicism into the process and cause people to question whether their correspondence is really handwritten or not. Hopefully, the next note you receive will contain a personal sentiment and you’ll know that a machine did not craft it.
Quit trying to be things that you are not. If you are a large university, handwritten notes aren’t you – capitalize on your size and send tickets to a big sporting event instead. If you’re a big company, use your leverage to get a big name to endorse your product instead of pretending to be small. If you’re a big organization, handwrite notes to a select group of donors instead of pretending to be intimate for the masses.
There is enough fake communication out there these days without your adding to it.