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Digital media offers new possibilities, but at what cost?

The growing dominance of digital and online media has come to replace many of our daily routines. Place the prefix "e" before a word and you can imagine its role on the web: ecommerce, email, emarketing, eflowers and even ebrochures. The popularity of smartphones and mobile devices is only hastening this process.

Ultimately, these innovations are about simplicity, guided by the question, "How can we make this easier?" But what the question does not account for is the emotional quality of time and effort spent on a project. Nothing exemplifies this misconception like online marketing. This year, spending on online advertising surpassed that of newspapers for the first time.

But surely there is something to be said for the tactile, plain-as-day effort that involves drafting a postcard, specifying its size, message, design, printing it, stamping it and sending it out to the public for consumption.

In arguing against the popularity of "epostcards," contributor Joel Monilla suggests that postcards, and really print media in general, offer sensations and emotional reactions that cannot be matched by digital.

"It doesn't get more personal when you know that the person who sent you the postcard took time and effort to design that postcard," he writes. "Add to that the fact that the person went to so much trouble of going to a postcard printing company and getting their nerves stretched to its limit because they believe in having their specific terms delivered on target and on time. It just goes to show how special they feel for the people they are sending the postcards to."

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