Handwritten Thank You Notes: There’s an App for That?!

January 6, 2013

You’ve survived another holiday season, but have you written all your thank you notes yet?

Do you find handwriting thank you notes to be tedious? Do you feel like you are too busy to write a thank you note for every gift you received or every party you attended?

If you value ease more than etiquette, then have no fear, Blabbbers, as now there are smartphone apps that will solve all your thank you note “problems.” After all, Blabbbers, we wouldn’t want you to write a card instead of playing video games or watching your TV shows on DVR instead. 😛

Robot w Pencil

That’s right, despite the fact that handwritten notes are special because they are personal, there are now multiple services that will aid you with your thank you notes. “Problem” solved?! Here’s a brief introduction to these Blabbb “life savers” …

  • Thank You Pen: The Thank You Pen app is about as Blabbb-y as can be. First, using their app on your smartphone, you choose your own card — with or without including an optional gift card. Second, you type out your message. Third, you choose from two (yes, only two) different handwriting options. Then the Thank You Pen scribes handwrite the card in their handwriting, add your gift card and mail out your “note” as instructed. It’s like having a personal assistant … who can’t duplicate your personal handwriting. Let’s hope the recipient of your “note” can’t recognize your handwriting!
  • Inkly: The Inkly app claims to be “personal.” First, using their app on your smartphone, you choose your own card from their many options. Second, you actually handwrite your own card message with your own handwriting — on scrap paper, toiletpaper, whatever. Third, you take a photo of your message and send it to the Inkly peeps. Then Inkly duplicates your handwriting with some “magical” Blabbb technology, prints your card and mails it as instructed. You basically go to the effort of writing yet slack on getting a card and going to the post office for a stamp.

Should we fear that this impersonal alternative will catch on? If the now-defunct Thank Thank Notes app is any indication, maybe people aren’t as lazy and impersonal as we dread they are.

Then again, there are now pre-formated thank you notes for children, where all they need to do is fill in the name of the gift giver, the gift and the child’s name. So even parents seem to be slacking now by not teaching their children how to write and mail thank you notes. When did laziness become acceptable? Well, as Miss Manners explains, form letters are not cute, not even from toddlers.

Robot Writer

Yes, we live in a busy world. And, yes, sending any thank you note in this day and age — even one with the aid of a smartphone app — is much better than doing nothing at all. Still, how can one argue that a smartphone app is a personal touch? Is this better than an email or text thank you, which is rather impersonal as well? What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? 😉

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Facebook Tag(ging): You’re It and … You’re You!

June 29, 2011

An adaptation of the following post was originally featured on AllFacebook. We were thrilled to be asked to contribute a piece to their awesome site. Check out the original post here.

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In 2007, if you asked most people what tagging was, they would have tapped you on the shoulder and said “You’re it” as if they were children on a playground during recess. Now, tagging photos of each other has become absolute commonplace on Facebook.

Tagging on Facebook has been a key driver in its exponential growth. After all, a few years ago, Facebook’s original tagging application was one of the major differences at the time between Facebook and its competitors. Since then, many other websites have added tag features to their photo uploads, including Google’s Picasa and Myspace.

As Facebookers acclimate themselves to the recent addition of the ability to tag products and pages in photos and the upgrade to visual recognition, we ponder the question: Why do we tag?

Obviously, tagging is a way of letting our friends and family know that we posted photos online that include them. But couldn’t we just send them the hyperlink to the online album instead?

The current Facebook profile layout features five of our most recently tagged photos at the top of our profile pages. Some suggest that this new layout is Facebook’s way of promoting its tagging application. In a backwards way, this current layout might motivate us to tag ourselves and others in order to arrange the top of our profile with the photos we want featured.

Years ago, if we were tagged in another’s photo, our Facebook friends could see that tagged photo and the entire photo album that it was included in. Now, with upgraded privacy settings, our friends often do not even see others’ photos in which we are tagged. If our friends cannot see the photos in which we are tagged, has Facebook tagging become somewhat irrelevant even as it gains in popularity?

Many Facebookers tag themselves in their own photos. Why do we do this? Our friends and family already know who we are and what we look like. Is there an underlying need for attention from others that somehow motivates us to do this?

Do you tag yourself in Facebook photos? Why? Why not? Let us know what “you” (not “u”) think about tagging (the Facebook tag, not the playground one) …


E-books: Books That Can Break

June 6, 2011

Whether you are an e-book addict or a real-book reader, there is no doubt that electronic books are here to stay. WIRED’s John C. Abell breaks down the pro’s and con’s of e-books in this e-debate.

Are you an e-reader? Do you prefer old-fashioned books or digital reads? Let us know what “you” (not “u”) think …


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