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What a misery-guts Fiona ­McCade is (“Handwritten letter sends wrong message”, Perspective, 17 January). Who would want her as a friend?

This person in the US had spent time actually putting thoughts on paper with a pen to send a personal note to her and is vilified for his or her friendly gesture.

In an age of instant messaging, the handwritten letter has a special niche as something that isn’t instant – the writer has to assemble paper, pen, envelope, address and stamps, spend time writing the letter (however poor their handwriting) and then take it to the postbox.

It means this person has had the recipient in their thoughts throughout the time of this whole process and has made an extra special effort to get in touch.

How much more personal this is than sending an instant message which can be deleted at the press of a button or, indeed, sent round the world with no effort on the part of the recipient.

A Mongolian friend of mine once said she couldn’t understand why her mother, in Mongolia, for whom she had bought a computer with e-mail access, pleaded: “Write me a letter! With your hand!”

Perhaps it has something to do with the permanence and physicality of a piece of paper as well as effort on the part of the writer.

The handwriting is more personal than typing on a screen, even if it says the same thing. You can pick up the letter and hold it.

I’m sorry you gave column inches to add to the demise of, and pour scorn on, the friendly paper letter. It has a literal 
personal touch which electronic communication can never achieve.

Rosemary Cole-

Buchanan Gardens

St Andrews