Quite possibly the answer is no, not much. I mean, bills and random ads, sure. But that's not real mail. Real mail is a letter or a card or a package that puts a smile on your face ... and although many of us, thanks to the internet, are now in regular contact with far more people around the world than we were, say, ten years ago, we still get real physical mail much more rarely than we did back then. I know that's true for me. And as much as I love teh intarwebs with all the multitudinous opportunities for experiences that follow, I also like mail. I love mail. :-) It's like I said, it puts a smile on my face. :-)
So, these things considered, I don't understand why I haven't gotten involved with the topic of today's post sooner. I'd heard about it several times, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to really looking into it until the beginning of October this year. It's been going on for over four years, though. And it really works. I can so vouch for that now. :-)
What is Postcrossing?
It's a website set up to let people send and receive postcards to and from randomly selected strangers. :-)
The site was set up by Paulo Magalhães in the summer of 2005, based on his opinion, or one might say feeling, that it's nice to get mail. :-) It's grown very quickly and there are now more than 130,000 users, and more than 3 million cards have been sent.
The system is very simple. First of all you must register as a user - this is quick and easy and completely free of charge. (The site is free to use, although you must of course buy your own postcards and pay for postage. You can make donations to the site if you want, but there is no requirement whatsoever to do so.) You get a profile - mine is here - where you can share some info about yourself and what kind of cards you would like to be sent. You then request an address to send a card to. This will be selected randomly - the list of recipient addresses changes constantly. The address may be anywhere in the world. You also get a unique ID code - eg, NO-26893 - which you must write clearly on the card. You then write a few words - whatever you want to write - on the postcard and send it off.
When it is received by the recipient, that person will use the ID code to register the card as received. Your address will then be added to the list of people due to receive a postcard, and someone else will be sent your address when they ask to send a card. This person, again, may be anywhere in the world, and they will not be the same person that you sent your card to.
At any given time you can have up to five cards travelling; as soon as one of these is registered as received, you will be allowed to send another. This number increases in increments with the number of cards you send. You will receive the same number of cards as you send out, from various countries all over the world. You send a card, it's received, you get a card ... And around and around we go ... :-)
But seriously, it really works. So far I've had 26 cards registered as received, and I've gotten 24 cards. The latter number will obviously usually be a little bit behind the former. I've got six cards on the road right now, travelling to Russia, Scotland, Canada, the US, China and Germany. The two cards I'm due to receive may come from almost literally anywhere on the planet. So far I've gotten cards from Finland, Iceland, Japan, Brazil, Tahiti, China and Germany ... among others. :-) I love it. :-) You never know what will arrive, or when. :-)
Apart from the official Postcrossing cards, there's also a lot of swapping going on. You can check a box on your profile to let other members know whether or not you're interested in that. A great way to get even more mail. :-D
The point of this post is to encourage all of you reading this to join Postcrossing and share in the fun. What's stopping you?? :-) You don't have to send five cards at once, you don't have to swap, you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. But if your constantly empty mailbox is boring you to tears, I'm here to tell you that there is a solution. :-)
Two of my friends - KAS and C. - have already joined, and I've signed my mother up too. If you decide to join, dear reader, I'd love to hear about your experiences. It's a great hobby, and - I'll say it again - it really works. :-)
As usual, I've gotten a bit carried away with this whole thing, so I've set up a Postcrossing blog to chronicle my PX adventures. It's here if you want to take a look at cards I've sent and received, and other Postcrossing-related info.
Got mail? No? Then become a Postcrosser - you and your mailbox will never look back! :-)
1 day ago