So, what is Letterberry all about?
THE SHORT ANSWER: Letterberry is an online collection of open letters. Read about and write to the people and organizations that interest you.
THE LONG– and perhaps more charming– ANSWER:
When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not a quick thank-you note or “wish you were here” postcard, but a real, composed letter?
If youʼre like most of us, you had to think quite a while back. Letter-writing doesnʼt necessarily fit into our busy, constantly-distracted 21st-century lives. But at the same time, letters are such a wonderful resource for anyone, professional or just curious,looking for a personal connection to history. As part of the public record, letters serve to show us not only what people — both public figures and ordinary civilians — said, but how they felt, and how they related to one another. It would be a shame to lose that treasure in favor of an endless archive of 140-character messages.
Thatʼs why serial entrepreneur Kelly Utt-Grubb came up with Letterberry, a new social website that makes the ancient craft of letter writing immediately relevant to the culture of the social web. Users can write their own webbased open letters to whomever they want — celebrities, public figures, institutions. Like longer, more thoughtful Tweets, these letters can then be rated and commented on by other users, and eventually their addressees can respond, too. Itʼs a way to take part in a larger discussion, somewhere between the instant gratification of Twitter and the mindfulness of pen-and-paper communication.
So who would you write to, if you could write to anyone? President Obama? God? Kim Kardashian? A deceased friend or family member? It seems like people have a lot to say, to a lot of different people. But when you put a letter in an envelope and drop it in the mailbox, you have no idea if anyoneʼs ever going to read it. Letterberry solves that problem by making letters instantly readable, so anyone can search for it a letter, read it, and share it as widely as they want. Letters can have the intimacy of private correspondence, and the power of a public declaration. Or they can just be fun and silly — in case you want to write to Justin Bieber accusing him of hypnotizing your 14-year-old niece with his hair, or to the CEO of Starbucks demanding the creation of an extra-Grande Frappuccino.
Letterberry also offers the opportunity to upload vintage letters from your own history, or that of your family. Share your grandfatherʼs letters from WWII with the world, or record your postcards from your college girlfriend for posterity. Tagging the letters with dates and subjects allows readers to search the archive and find out what people were thinking at different times in history, contributing to the public knowledge of how our culture has changed, and how itʼs stayed the same — because the great thing about reading old letters is how you can connect to someone who lived generations ago, and realize that the things you care about are still the same human things that people have always cared about. Letters are about making a connection, and Letterberry takes that connection one big step forward into the 21st century.