Have you checked your mailbox recently? A regular one, not your email box. There is a good reason to do it again. People all over the world are enjoying a very unusual hobby – send and receive interesting postcards from friendly strangers. Such an unexpected surprise, and most importantly – from the bottom of one’s heart.
If you are looking for an interesting hobby that does not require large financial investments and gives new impressions and pleasure, Postcrossing is exactly what you need.
Postcrossing is an opportunity to exchange paper postcards with people from different countries all over the world. In the age of the Internet it sounds a little surprising, I agree, but it is still so cool and exciting to get a little piece of paper from a stranger in the mail. Of course, Postcrossing does not try to revive the epistolary genre. This interesting hobby just reminds mankind of the existence of a pen and paper to express their thoughts. In addition, Postcrossing is collecting: addresses, postcards, stamps.
The idea of Postcrossing belongs to students from Portugal, Paulo Magalhães Morales, and Ana Campos. They created and developed the site and its logo. The site was launched in July 2005. The millionth postcard was sent in May 2012, the ten millionth postcard was sent in January 2012, and the fifteen millionth postcard was sent 11 months later.
The main point is simple: first of all, a user goes to the website postcrossing.com and receives the address, which is chosen by the system randomly from more than 500 thousand participants. He sends a postcard to the address received. It should be a regular paper postcard. When your address is displayed on the computer screen somewhere on the other part of the world, expect a surprise. In fact, no one knows in advance where he will receive a postcard from, what exactly will be displayed on it, who will send it and, finally, what message this postcard will include.
After, postcrossers can continue further postal and paper correspondence, exchange stamps, banknotes, tea, and anything. Is not it exciting enough to participate in this project? Let’s check how to become a member of Postcrossing community.
1. Register at www.postcrossing.com. On the main page, on the left, you need to choose “Sign up”. You will be transferred to the page with the registration data to be filled in.
You should specify the following information:
Full Address (your full address where to send a postcard to).
2. After registration, you should fill in your profile. The more information you write about yourself, the better. In fact, the profile should specify your preferences. For example, you can request “I would like to get a postcard with an image of city streets only”, or “Send me postcards without envelopes.”
3. It is a high time to get the address of the happy owner of your first wonderful postcard. Choose “Send a postcard”, agree with all the rules and get the address. Along with the address you get a unique ID, which MUST be specified on your card. You can send cards to up to 5 recipients at the same time. When a person receives your card, he/she must register it (“Register a postcard”). For this purpose, it is necessary not to forget to specify ID on the card. Once the card is registered, you will be able to get a new address.
4. The most important step is purchasing of stamps and postcards. Before you send a card to a person, read about his preferences. You can buy a postcard in any Internet store, bookstore, or postal office. Although, if you have extra money and want to please your mysterious strangers, you can buy a set of collectible stamps. It all depends on your imagination and opportunities.
5. Think about a layout of your postcard. Except for the address and ID you should write some text. Do not put a boring “Happy Postcrossing! Have a nice Day”. Naturally, it is much more interesting and pleasant to read about the addressee’s hobbies, why he/she sent this postcard, and etc. Be creative!
6. After a while, you will find a long-awaited postcard in your mailbox. Do not forget to register a postcard you received before you put it in your collection. To do this, click ‘Register a postcard’ button on the website and enter its ID. At the same time, you can write a few words to the sender: your thanks, your impressions, and etc.
+ The motto of Postcrossing is “surprise In your mailbox”.
+ Statistics of the official site says that the total distance traveled by all cards sent within the project is more than 50 billion km, which is more than 330 times greater than the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
+ The project includes 750,226 registered members in 214 different countries. 100,560 male, 492,618 female, 10,860 are group accounts and 143,946 prefer not to say.
+ The first postcard of the project was sent from Portugal.
+ Unfortunately, according to statistics, 10-12 % of cards are not registered in the system due to mail problems or user inactivity.
+ In the Postcrossing database, there are 21 postcards sent from Antarctica. None of them, however, was actually sent from the southern continent — the matter is the system allows the user to select any country during registration, including a country other than the one specified in the address, entered into the system.
+ The popularity of Postcrossing has increased not only demand for postcards, but also Russia, Belarus, the Netherlands, the United States began to open online stores specializing exclusively in the sale of exclusive postcards.
+ Once some lady reported that she was older than the age settings of the website allowed. Website administrators were intrigued, as no one had ever complained about this issue before. It appeared that Helen (Honney17) celebrated her 101st birthday earlier this year!
In the era of globalization and development of the Internet technologies, simple and tangible human joys are falling into oblivion. Despite all the advantages of the Internet, there are still millions of fans of the epistolary genre. They are happy to be members of Postcrossing project, an international electronic service for the exchange of paper cards through a regular mail. Join this community to learn more about different cities and countries around the world, get acquainted with the culture and lifestyle of people from other parts of the globe, learn foreign languages, and much more.
If the idea of a mailbox full of happiness instead of just bills and advertisements catches your attention, I would suggest you play the following game.
It is funny and simple. All you need to do is just to leave a comment with your shipping address below this post. The next person will have to send a postcard to you (to the address mentioned above). So, leave your address and do not forget to send a beautiful postcard to the place right above your comment. Let’s go!