HAPPY POSTCROSSING!


The Finnish commemorative Postcrossing postage stamp

The Finnish commemorative Postcrossing postage stamp

 

It’s a new phenomenon – postcards whizzing round the world, sent by nearly half a million people in over 200 countries – people who don’t know each other, but are linked by one common factor: they like to get mail! Old fashioned snail mail, stuff in the letterbox mail – for once, not e-mai!

It costs you nothing to join Postcrossing (www.postcrossing.com) but there’s the cost of buying postcards – although some folk make their own. Plus the cost of postage, which in South Africa is quite high, R5-75 per card for airmail  delivery. Apparently the Brits are not big members of Postcrossing, due to the high cost of postage in their country.

Nearly every country in the world has Postcrossing members, barring some miniscule, obscure islands that are not even dots on the map – Cocos & Keeling Islands? – and some countries in West Africa, and on the horn of Africa. Other than this, worldwide, somebody is sending or receiving a postcard this very second. Yes: NOW, right now.

The most enthusiastic joiners are the Russians, followed by the Americans, and then the Chinese.  Male members number 63,539 ; 311,178 females. There are 465,078 registered users in 223 different countries. These stats are from the Postcrossing website, but they change on an almost hourly basis. When I joined last year, South African had just over 400 members, but now, since an article on the phenomenon in Ideas Magazine, the number has more than tripled.

Apparently one of the attractions of Postcrossing is that there’s an entire generation  – electronically connected 24/7, of course – who have never received an item of snailmail! I find this fact quite staggering, but I suppose the cohort  aged 15 – 25 probably falls into this category. So for the electronic generation, a postcard in the mailbox is a brand new experience.

I joined Postcrossing in October last year, and now I’m a complete addict – it’s a lot of fun! I’ve been a letter-writer all my life, but with my increasing eyesight problems, postcards are the perfect solution. I still get mail in my box and the thrill of a card from the most diverse places: from Turkey to the Ukraine, from the USA to Malaysia – who knows where the next card will come from? The only downside to Postcrossing is our very erratic and irregular postal deliveries, but hey! getting seven cards in a bundle from all over the world is okay too.

Finland even issued an official postage stamp in honour of Postcrossing – see my very poor pic up top.

Join: I promise you won’t regret doing so.

 

 

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10 Comments

Filed under LETTERS & BILLET-DOUX, PRESENT & FUTURE

10 responses to “HAPPY POSTCROSSING!

  1. Oh, Alison, this sounds WONDERFUL. I totally love the idea. I’m a big fan of sending and receiving postcards and letters via snailmail; there’s nothing quite like the thrill of opening your postbox and finding a treasure in there, instead of just the usual statements and invoices and junk. 😀 I am curious though: How reliable has our post office been in ensuring that the cards you send are actually received, and that the cards sent to you actually reach you?

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    • Our dreaded Post Office: my out-going cards all seem to reach their destination, but the in-bound cards … that’s another story. Often we only get one mail delivery per week, and sometimes we get no overseas mail at all for 2 and 3 weeks. I’ve phoned, moaned, ranted, complained – doesn’t seem to make any difference.

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      • I know the feeling, Alison. Our cheerful yellow friend Flat Kathy is on her way back from Denmark…. and seems to be delayed en route. One of many articles of mail from outside the country.

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  2. Sounds like a lovely idea Alison, but I have had my mail delivered to various people in the village, and even outside the village!! Fortunately some have found it’s way to me, but I often wonder how many others have wound up in someones bin!!

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  3. Eileen Turner

    Found this very interesting, Alison. I have not encountered it.

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  4. Alison, I am a Melba Shaver’s cousin, who is your pen pal of many years. I think you visited her in the United States a few years ago. Anyway, I think this is a wonderful idea … Postcrossing. I love getting snail mail. I have already gone and registered. Now, I just have to find some postcards to send. Thank you for sharing this information. If you ever come to visit Melba again, I hope I can meet you.

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    • Glad to hear I converted another person to Postcrossing! It’s a lot of fun. I wonder where your first p/c will come from? I would dearly love to visit the US again – such a vast country, I only skirted round the borders of it. Unfortunately the very bad exchange rate between our two currencies and my personal health issues make the prospect unlikely. But you never know! I loved meeting Melba and experiencing her life in a small US town – such warm friendly folk, and such lovely country.

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      • Alison, I just wanted to let you know that I am so excited because I received my first postcard from Switzerland today! All because of your post about http://www.Postcrossing.com. Thank you so much for sharing this information. This is going to be like having penpals all over the world.

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  5. Isn’t it a thrill when that first card hits your mailbox – enjoy! I’ve just sent of my 61st card, and can’t wait for the postman’s weekly visit to see who/what/where lands up in my box.

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