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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 11:18 GMT
Valentine's Day: Has electronic love taken over?
The traditional wait for the postman is likely to be supplanted by the bleep of the mobile phone this St Valentine's Day.

Text messaging and e-cards have taken over from 'snail mail' as the preferred method of sending romantic greetings to somebody else.

Virgin Mobile predicts that 80 million Valentine's Day text messages will be sent on February 14 this year, compared to the expected 12 million cards sent by traditional snail mail.

Has electronic love taken over? Would you prefer a text message or something more traditional?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Any idiot can send thoughtless text messages

Alison, UK
My boyfriend is a student and has little cash. He has a mobile phone and e-mail but there was no valentine from him all day. When I got home from work he had tidied the flat, made us dinner and he'd even hand-made me the most beautiful card I've ever seen. Any idiot can send thoughtless text messages but it takes a real man to show how much he really cares.
Alison, UK

The only thing about sending electronic valentines is that it is very hard to do anonymously. I'm sure there are people out there who can do it but I'm not one of them, and would probably get sacked if I tried anyway! I suppose you could set up a special account for the purpose though, and the recipient would have a means to get in touch which could be fun...
Amy Green, UK

Just as long as it doesn't say, "I know where you live..." written in letters cut out of a newspaper, I'll enjoy messages from the fairer sex in any format...
Ben Temperton, Birmingham, UK

This has nothing to do with love. We've turned into a nation of text maniacs.
Chris B, England

So has Will Faulkner's girlfriend forgiven him, or dumped him? Hopefully the former - good luck Will.
Steve, UK

I send over 20 Valentine e-cards to women all over the world

Will Faulkner, UK
Thanks to email, I have been able to send over 20 Valentine e-cards to women all over the world, and it hasn't cost me a penny!
Even better - my girlfriend hasn't got a clue!
Isn't technology a wonderful thing...?
Will Faulkner, UK

Hmmm Mr Will Faulkner - let's hope your girlfriend doesn't read BBC Online...
Or you might be getting a red card from her!
Michael Snow, UK

Thank you Will Faulkner for confessing..... I always thought it was you.
Lawrence, UK

In response to Will Faulkner's comments - please let it be known that I have emailed this site's link to Will's girlfriend. She will hopefully see his comments and dump him. Don't think I am bitter, Will is a work colleague of mine and I am fed up with his comments about my acne - which incidentally has led to me receiving NO cards, be they electronic or paper-based.
David Todd, UK

Will Faulkner, UK - she does now!
Sophie, UK

Your handwriting means more than a thousand emails

Mark, UK
The more we send emails and text messages, the more the handwritten card becomes special because it has your unique feature - your handwriting, and that means more than a thousand emails.
Mark, UK

Instead of email, why not send Valentine's Day missives by way of Talking Point?

To all the wonderful, funny, sexy ladies out there - Happy Valentine's Day to you and may you find your knight in shining armour!
Chris, US

The electronic thing is definitely not taking over. How can a machine or robot possibly overtake the human touch? It's like a woman saying they would rather have an affair with Robocop than Tom Cruise.
Brian Holmes, Liverpool, UK

Technology is a man's best friend!

Seaneen, Belfast
I think email is wonderful, it saves money and you can send cards in a split second, so for people who forget, it's heaven! Girls, it is better to receive an e-card that doesn't take much thought than not to receive one at all! Technology is a man's best friend!
Seaneen, Belfast

This day is of special importance to my girlfriend and me because it is the day that we first spoke to one another after having an on-line relationship for a couple of months beforehand. A year on, we are still together and we are moving into our first new home next week! Who says love and romance are dead?
John Beckett, UK

It's very sad to see restaurants full of couples eating lobster

Sean, UK
The whole concept of being romantic on a particular day is silly - romance has to be spontaneous and unexpected. I refuse (much to my girlfriend's dismay) to do anything special today. I have shown how much I appreciate my girlfriend throughout the year by a trip to Paris, weekends away and ahem...other ways that don't cost much money. It's very sad to see carbon-copied couples receiving flowers on only one day of the year and restaurants full of couples eating lobster. Think of something special you can do for your partner and don't do it on Valentine's Day.
Sean, UK

I can't stand Valentine's Day. It brings out the worst in women especially

Paul, England
I can't stand Valentine's Day. It brings out the worst in women especially. I love to be romantic, spontaneous and do everything I can to show my feelings, but I really hate having someone expect me to go out and spend a heap of cash to show my love in some transparent ritual.

I once sent an electronic Valentine - it took me ages to design and draw and I made sure she received it exactly at the right moment - when she sat down to the rose on her desk. She was ecstatic, more for the work I'd obviously put into it than the rose - after all you can buy a rose in any pub at the weekend for £2.
Paul, England

It's brilliant sending e-Valentines. If it wasn't for my email love letters I wouldnt be able to sustain my several adulterous relationships. God bless the internet!
Scott Fleming, UK

'WUBMV?' is a typical reflection of the degenerate world we live in

Jurgen W Schulze, US
I have two observations:
a) Valentine's Day (like Secretaries' Day, Postmen's Day, Christmas and you name it) is nothing but an invention to force people to spend money they either do not want to spend or don't have - but since it's expected of them, they'll do it. If I love somebody, I love that person every day and should say so every day as well, not only on 14 February.
b) Since most people seem to have difficulties to spell words with more than 4 letters in them, something like "WUBMV?" or "LMBTV4Y" is a typical reflection of the degenerate world we live in.
Jurgen W Schulze, US

I wouldn't dream of sending a card to someone in the office because of handwriting being picked up on. Thanks to the electronic age, I was able to discreetly and anonymously send an e-card to the object of my admiration and I'm certain it will make her day.
Nyan, Wales

sms doesn't kill trees and it's instant

Giles Hogben, Italy
I prefer sms - it doesn't kill trees and it's instant - with an Italian Valentine's card, by the time it arrives you never know if it's still true.
Giles Hogben, Italy

I love my wife and daughter and I tell them every day. Sorry Telco's, card companies and florists, but your help is not needed.
Jon, UK

I am so glad that I didn't get a text message from my husband. A card this morning and then a dozen red roses delivered at work. A text message or email wouldn't have made me feel half as special.
Sam, UK

You are all so negative! A day that celebrates love can surely only be a good thing?
Dave, UK

It's a great way to make friends - send a Valentine by post and it'll arrive sometime in June at a random address bearing no resemblance to that on the envelope!

Does it really matter what form a Valentine's message takes?

Gareth Thornton, UK
Does it really matter what form a Valentine's message takes? Lets just celebrate the fact many people will spend a little time thinking about somebody else today. As a society we are not often encouraged to do so. Of course it's over commercialised etc etc, but if we have to appreciate the sentiment, electronically sent or otherwise.
Gareth Thornton, UK

Although I abhor all things corporate and "token" holidays such as Easter, I do enjoy Valentine's Day and the ability to use modern technology in a friendly way, whilst still retaining the personal touch with snail mail, doesn't half help to me and my fiancée who are 12,000 miles apart. Congratulations to mobile phones and the Internet. And to Valentines Day.
Matthew Flaherty, UK

What happened to the good old-fashioned romantic gesture?

David L-J, Isle of Man, UK
What happened to the good old-fashioned romantic gesture? I am sure any woman would rather a bunch of beautiful red roses and a card than a free naff text message on her mobile. Come on world - ditch the SMS and dip your hand in your pocket and show them how much you really love them regardless of the cost.
David L-J, Isle of Man, UK

Every disparaging comment I have read so far, about what a waste of time Valentine's Day is, has been written by a bloke. They just don't get it, do they!
Sally, UK

I love Valentine's Day and look forward to it every single year. I go out with my partner and her children for a bite to eat and the cinema - to see a film of MY choice. What more could a man ask for?
Mark Blackburn, UK

I think it is a better idea to use technology as it means people are no longer giving money to card companies for what is essentially a day made up by card companies to sell more cards.
Ed, UK

I did the right thing and bought my wife a beautiful card and present and we are off for a romantic meal tonight

Paul Robert, UK
Electronic love hasn't really taken over it's just that you now see the cheapskates come out of the woodwork. These people probably didn't send Valentines Cards before the introduction of the wonderful internet but now they say they are part of it because of e-card creation. They also create the cards in work time costing money for their employers.
I did the right thing and bought my wife a beautiful card and present and we are off for a romantic meal tonight. I hope that puts you e-card senders to shame.
Paul Robert, UK

I sent my wife an e-card and ordered her the Sopranos box set from the internet as a gift. I am such a romantic!
Chris Gower, England

Doesn't bother me - not getting any electronic Valentines is pretty much the same as not getting any traditional Valentines!
John, England

Tele-Love must be doing wonders for the telecoms companies coffers!
Real love is free!
Tariq Rashid, UK

Receiving a card is definitely more romantic. Text messages take a couple of minutes to do, can be done with little thought and are really the lazy option. A card is more personal as the sender has taken time to choose it. However, I'm not adverse to receiving both!
Amanda, UK

I don't think it has taken over. There is no substitute for the traditional gestures. My boyfriend is one of the biggest technology users I know and he has still spent the time and effort in planning a romantic meal for us tonight.
Susie, Britain

Valentine's Day is for losers! Come on people - wake up! Can't you see the various companies/shops/restaurants all lining up to fleece us (men, usually) under the veil of "Valentine's Day"?
Fraser, Essex, England

There's far more of a challenge in being romantic within the confines of 160 characters!

Phil Bray, UK
Whilst receiving a text message will never set the heart pounding in the same way as waiting for the postman's steps and the rattle of the letter-box, it is a lot more convenient and a bonus for disorganised people such as me. There's far more of a challenge in being romantic within the confines of 160 characters!
Phil Bray, UK

A rather obscure festival gets peddled all over the world, marketed aggressively by Western companies in developing countries, and lo and behold, Valentine's Day becomes a universal way of co-modifying love. As such, why not send messages in the latest of globally marketed technologies of 'love'- as long as we don't pretend that this is about some sort of authenticity of effect.
Barnita Bagchi, India

I used both routes - my beloved will be at work by the time Consignia gets round to delivering anything so it's a text in the morning and hopefully a card in the evening.
Neil, UK

If you can imagine the impact (or lack thereof) of a Valentine's card arriving on Feb 15th, then you should have a good idea why we are moving away from sending by the aptly named "snail mail".
Martin, England, UK

How can anybody who is obsessed with bleeps and pixels possibly a) be capable of love, and b) be worthy of being loved?

Andy H, UK
Asking if electronic love has taken over is a contradiction in terms. How can anybody who is obsessed with bleeps and pixels possibly
a) be capable of love, and
b) be worthy of being loved? They're already in love with their mobile and their pager and their modem. Let them carry on by themselves and leave REAL love to the rest of us who actually know how to speak and how to write.
Andy H, UK

Personally I'd prefer a card - it's far too easy to send an electronic greeting. However, the price of Valentine cards are ridiculous - upwards of £3 for a bit of cardboard folded in half with a simple drawing on the front! No wonder these card shops are cropping up everywhere, it's a license to print money!
Steve, UK

Valentine's Day used to be an exclusive scam for florists, card makers, and condom manufacturers. Why shouldn't the mobile phone companies exploit it too? More fool the rest of you for being taken in by it!
Phil, UK

Valentine's Day is about celebrating love

Deborah, UK
Valentine's Day is about celebrating love. It is about reminding someone how much you love them. Or it is about confessing to someone that you actually quite fancy them and finding out if they feel the same?
I'm sorry Phil, UK but I am taken in by it. Taken in by love. Taken in by any excuse to celebrate. Taken in by any reason to shower my partner with affection and gifts.
Deborah, UK

Say it with textSay it with text
Woo your Valentine with your mobile
See also:

14 Feb 02 | Business
Love in a cold climate
14 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Valentine's Day in Asia
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