I realize that the practice may not be completely dead, but you never hear about someone having a pen pal anymore. Like milk men, pen pals have pretty much fallen by the wayside. Email, Facebook, etc. can be blamed for putting an end to pen pals. Because of the World Wide Web, its seems everyone has become everyone else's superficial pen pal. In the future, actual hard copy letters from one person to another are bound to be scarce. No longer will we get to watch a Ken Burns documentary on PBS where the narrator recites a heartfelt letter penned in actual hand writing on aged paper that reads:
My Dearest Loretta,
This may be the last letter I write to you. Cholera has spread throughout our office and I fear I have drunken from the contaminated water cooler from which it lives. As I write this letter my breathing is faint, my skin blue, and hand shaky. If this is my last letter yada, yada, yada...
Since most communication between people today is through email and other forms of electronic media that gets deleted, it means we'll lack the history and record of many personal relationships. It's kind of a double-edged sword. People want to save the environment by not printing emails, but what about saving memories. For almost the same reasons, the world is going to have a serious lack of printed photographs too.
So what's worse - a lack of trees or a lack of history?
"Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you." - Bookends
This just gave me a great name for my next punk band; The Dead Pen Pals.