In an electronic, need-for-speed, overnight-delivery age, the more personal the invitation the better. A visit is more personal than a call; a call is more personal than a letter; a letter is more personal than e-mail -- a letter with six people's names on it is less personal than one addressed to one person, and an e-mail is about as impersonal as it gets. We are so flooded with e-mails and the medium is so senseless that I have come to believe that in the rank order of inviting, e-mails don't count. But all are better than lying in bed at night waiting for the universe to provide. (p.122)
A while back, I purchase some note cards and started sending handwritten notes to some folks from time-to-time. I'd thank someone for something or let someone know I was thinking about whatever they were going through or just send them a note to let them know I was thinking about them. The responses have always been interesting. In most cases, people come up to me and seem to have really appreciated getting a handwritten note. In other cases, I never hear from the person; perhaps they are shocked to get a handwritten note. I don't send the notes to hear back, but it is just interesting to see that many people are genuinely appreciative of getting a handwritten note.
I probably get 200 emails per day between work and personal email. I really appreciate a thoughtful email however. In my job, where my organization provides a service to others, it is fairly amazing how few times there is a thank you or a good job comment. Probably, we all need to learn to say 'thanks' or 'good job' or 'happy birthday' to those around us.
Building a community is about connecting with people. Being a part of their lives.