Sometimes Pixels Aren’t Enough

Today is St Valentine’s day – or Hallmark cards day if you’re a cynic.  It’s the one day of the year where you can get away with stalking in real life rather than on Facebook, and the one day of the year where you should feel completely free to express yourself in words.

I wrote a card for my wife this morning and left it on the kitchen table so that she’d find it when she came down for breakfast. That’s about as romantic as I get.  It was a nice card though, and a lot of thought went into choosing it.

The thing is, when I left the house, I realised that cards are just about the only means  of communication that hasn’t transferred online.  Sure, there are those crappy e-card companies, and there are plenty of places that will personalise a card on your behalf, and send it with a printed message inside, but a proper card from a proper shop is still the best way to make someone feel special.

There are some things about the future that I think will be a struggle to deal with.  Imagine the day when all of your Christmas presents come in the form of a download rather than a physical item.  Books in PDF Format, MP3 albums, and streamed games and films.  I’m willing to bet that if Ann Summers could find a way to broadcast a pair of knickers, they’d do it in an instant.  Special occasions are getting less special every year, as the things that make them so are gradually eroded.

Traditionally, St Valentine’s Day has been the day where you could declare love for someone anonymously, send them a message that was only for them, a message that was there to make them feel special.  Sadly, as we migrate all of our communication online, like birthdays and Christmas, the card is being replaced by a few words on a Facebook wall or an @ message on Twitter.  And that’s pretty sad.  If anything, its a bit worse than the text message barrage for new year, because at least text messages cost something, and take a little bit of thought.

St Valentine’s Day should be more than:

i<3 u

on a Facebook wall.

It might be corny, it might be over the top, and it might be mostly about making a few quid for Mr Hallmark and his card making chums, but to be honest a couple of quid for a card, and a few minutes to write a message that only she will read is a small price to pay to make someone feel special.