Don’t expect to receive a handwritten letter this Valentine’s Day as over a third of people no longer write them, while 18% don’t write love letters at all, according to a survey by online backup service Mozy.
Not only are love letters a thing of the past, the idea of presenting a loved one with a personalised, printed photo album is also out of date – 24% of those surveyed simply wouldn’t consider it.
What’s to blame for this lack of romance? The blame, it seems, rests with technology. Claire Galbois-Alcaix from Mozy, which commissioned the survey of 3,000 Brits, explains:
‘With social media, text messages and email, technology has changed the way Brits express themselves, choosing Facebook photo albums over the printed variety, an email over a handwritten love letter, and a playlist over a mixtape.’
Dating websites fail to deliver the perfect match
There’s more bad news if you’re thinking of heading to an internet dating site. The matchmaking algorithm used by online dating sites is likely little more effective than randomly approaching strangers at a bar, claims a report cited in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
The study’s co-author, Eli J. Finkel, told The Montreal Gazette:
‘Online dating is a boon for singles and I’m glad it exists [but] it suffers from some pretty serious limitations. Any scientist that looks at the evidence that matchmaking sites have mustered to establish that their algorithm works will say, “Please”.’
‘You start to think there are thousands of people hanging out in cyberspace, just waiting for you to click on [their profiles]. It actually makes you less happy once you’ve decided to go on a date with someone.’
Technology hasn’t killed my sense of romance
However, I don’t think technology has put pay to romance. I’ve used online photo development websites to create photo books for my husband more than once. It helped me create a gift that looked arguably more professional than using an album and glue, but was no less personal.
Similarly, while Mozy claims technology has killed the ultimate romantic gift – the mixtape – they still live on. As my colleague Dave Holes writes, a new online service lets people create personalised CDs online with personalised album covers and songs chosen by you.
Mozy also bemoans the death of the florist, but it doesn’t make the gesture any less romantic just because flowers are ordered online (if my husband is reading this, that’s a hint).
That said, the thought of receiving a Valentine’s email fills me with dread. I’d far rather have a card that’s been hand-picked and handwritten. I’ll even confess to keeping cards from previous years.
There’s another reason to beware electronic missives this Valentine’s, too, with PandaLabs warning that scammers could cash in with romantic emails containing malware. It also warns people to be on the look out for Valentine’s related messages on social networking sites. Being taken in by a scam could certainly kill the mood.
So, there’s definitely a case for technology killing romance, but I think the heart will keep on beating, even if it’s a digital one. How about you? Will you get the pen out and write a real Valentine’s letter today, or is a more digital approach your style?