What happened after my TED Talk? I quit my job, wrote a book, grew my organization, and promoted a US postage stamp in Times Square

This is great. We need to jumpstart letter writing in the U.S. You’ve already started doing this. Good luck!

TED Blog

Hannah Brencher carried a USPS mail crate with her when she spoke at TED@NYC. Photo: Ryan Lash Hannah Brencher carried a USPS mail crate with her when she spoke at TED@NYC. Photo: Ryan Lash

Hannah Brencher strolled onstage to give her TED Talk, “Love letters to strangers,” with a US Postal Service mail crate propped on her hip. And that mail crate full of letters turned out to be a metaphor for what happened next — a box of surprises and possibilities.

Onstage at Joe’s Pub in June 2012, Brencher told her story of writing love letters to strangers — yes, in her own handwriting — and leaving them on café tables, tucking them in books at the library, and sending them to anyone on the internet who asked. The project, which she began as a way to fight her post-college depression, took on its own life, so Brencher set up the website More Love Letters to help the letter-writing project expand to anyone who…

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Handwritten Letters to Save the Post Office


Benjamin Franklin letter

Benjamin Franklin letter

How do you feel when you get a real handwritten letter from someone, especially a good friend? Is it different than an email? Is it different than a typed note? My Mother used to receive handwritten letters from one of her friends and they were peppered with creative illustrations. It was a work of art and filled with humor. Even the envelope had illustrations on it in all colors. I don’t know what happened to those letters, but I remember them even today.

Handwritten notes and letters have personality.

Reading and looking at handwritten notes or poetry or manuscripts, you can feel the heart of the person who wrote them.

How about a campaign to bring back the handwritten letter. I’m starting my own campaign because I realized that email disappears, even texts. Someone can put an erase date on your emails. Even if it’s in your in box, you will only be able to keep it for a certain time, then poof, it’s disappeared by special software. Also, texts on your phone.

The other day I tried to access a news article and got the message, 404, Oops! It was disappointing. The news article was less than 3 years old yet it was disappeared. Is that what will happen to stuff people put on the internet?

Or, a website is redone and then you can’t find the link to the article or document you needed or wanted to share with someone? Then all the links you had to that article, video or document no longer work.

We think technology is so great and that the internet allows us to access anything that we want. Sorry, but that is totally false. After I had trouble accessing the news article I started thinking how ephemeral the internet really is. What happens if the software and hardware changes in the future and we can’t access certain data?

Some authors write their books on handwritten manuscripts. Even if they have an electronic version, the handwritten manuscript will outlast a computer hard drive crash.

Tell me your thoughts about handwritten letters & notes. I tried to give someone a little gift of note cards the other day and the person said, “What would I use those for?” I realized that some people never write letters. They have lived their lives emailing and texting. I decided to revisit the tradition of writing notes.

Do you write handwritten notes?

Also, if we write more love letters, handwritten thank you notes, and other letters and send them by U.S. mail, then we can help increase first class mail.

So, let’s all write at least one handwritten letter a week—or more. Once I started this adventure I almost ran out of notes to send!

Let’s send handwritten notes to our Senators, Congressmen, the President, and of course to Postmaster General Donahoe and the Board of Governors about our concerns. The management at USPS claims they want to listen to their customers. OK, let’s give them an opportunity!

Happy Writing!