Remember the last time when you take something but advertising newspapers and receipts for utility rates of your mailbox. And can you tell when you affix a stamp to the envelope, write letters and send them by post? Most likely it was long ago. Today we all are computerized and have access to the e-mail, skype and ICQ. Though there are such people among us, who like real postcards and letters – and not just to receive, but also to send them. Besides them, there are collectors of the postcards which are called deltiologists. And, of course, there are just lively, communicable and cheerful representatives of the mankind, who like surprises. For all abovementioned categories of human race there was invented Postcrossing.

Postcrossing is an exchange of postcards and stamps among people regardless of their inhabitancy, sex, age, race and religion. If you send a postcard, you surely will receive another one back from a random postcrosser from any corner of the EarthBut where this postcard from and from whom it is – remains a surprise until the last minute; you will know this only when you take the postcard from your mailbox. The project was invented and implemented byPaulo Magalhães from Portugal. He started Postcrossing in 1995. Today more than 100 thousand users are registered at the site; more then two and a half millions of postcards have been sent. In the rating of postcards’ sending Finland takes the fist place, the USA – the second, Germany – the third one.

How does it work?

It works simply. There is one common condition – registration at the site and clear rule - you get as much postcards as you send, no more.

1) You register at the site, where you sign up your profile - provide your home address (don’t afraid to indicate you complete address in the profile, because this information is confidential and should be given only to those users who would like to mail you a postcard) and some information about you (postcrossers would like to know some more details about the person who sends them postcards – field of activity, hobbies, preferences in music etc.). You may state your preferences about postcards, which you would like to receive (themes of the postcards – animals, flowers, fantasy, sights and so on).

2) The most exiting moment – request menu item “send a postcard”, after what the system displays you the address of the random user and your postcard ID (identification code). Here you can see the profile of the person-addressee of your postcard. Of course, the recipient would be extremely glad to receive a postcard which he dreamt of.

3) When addressee gets your postcard, he registers it at the website using postcard ID. After registration of the postcard by the recipient you receive a message by e-mail: “Hooray! The card with the ID so-and-so arrived to its destination” and usually with the thanks of the recipient.

4) Immediately after registration your address will be displayed randomly to somebody else and soon you will hold in your arms a beautiful card. From the USA, for example. You will get five addresses at the same time. The number of them may be less, but not more and each next address will be given after report about your card’s registration.


Postcrosser’s etiquette

Postcrossers have their own rules as any system and hobby do. Let’s try to give some information about this side of the medal:

- communication language – English;

- for the countries of the CIS there can be used Russian as communication language;

- stamps should be preferably decorative and nice;

- read requests of recipients of the postcards attentively – sometimes they ask to send postcards in envelopes, sometimes – vice versa, uncovered, with marking and canceled stamps;

- advertising and free postcards so on as hand-made ones should be sent only to those, who asks for – such things cannot be acceptable for all, because for many people postcard is a way to know a little more about country or person, but not appreciation of your designer’s talents;

- always try to write something nice on the postcard for the recipient;

- sender’s address shouldn’t be indicated as a proposition to mail you back;

- try to send nice and original postcards, but not those, which lie out-of-use in your home – you would like to receive beautiful postcard, but not unattended one.

What postcards are the most popular among postcrossers?

The most asked-for postcards – those, which present your city, region, country. Postcrossers also like genre postcards, pictures of famous people, movie and music stars; many of them would be glad to get cards with pictures of national colour, food and drinks. If you send New Year’s or Christmas cards, try to make inscription in the language of your country, because things which are usual for our country may be exotic somewhere in Finland or Taiwan. For example, you would be glad to get a postcard from Japan with hieroglyphic inscription. In any case, mail a postcard you would like to receive by yourself. Be attentive to the profile of the person you are going to send postcard to, and then, somewhere at the other side of the planet, your message will bring joy and positive to a stranger.

What postcrossing is for?

What does postcrossing give to its addicts? First of all – positive emotions we hardly can get during a day. Second – an abundance of people’s communication. You may not only exchange postcards, but make friendship with a person of closely corresponded interests from another country. There is even a couple – he is from Germany, she is from Finland, - which has been married thanking to postcrossing; and now they send postcards from the same address. Commonly, people who are fond of postcrossing become real collectors and hunters for rare samples. The most of postcrossers live in the USA, Finland, Germany and China. The majority of the postcards are mailed from those countries. And there is the only one user registered in Congo. Imagine how it would be wonderful to receive a postcard from him – it’s just a dream! Many children, teenagers and youth, who are fond of postcrossing, are stimulated to study English. By the way, postcrossers’ attitude to children is especially warm – they send to children postcards with kids’ specific, funny animals, heroes of well-known cartoons and write the warmest wishes in the messages. Ukraine takes the 30th place in the rating of participating countries for number of registered users. Now the number of them has increased over 2100 people. Not so long ago there has started website in Russia. There you can communicate in Russian and receive postcards from Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine. Surely in the nearest future this website will have an international status with a great number of registered countries of the world. We wish you interesting hobbies and beautiful postcards – for postcrossers!

Postcards - open letters or cards which can be sent by post uncovered. History of postcard has over 140 years during which its look, size and purpose have changed many times.

Thereby commonly known history of the card as postcard totals more then 140 years. In a so long time of existing postcard’s look-like and purposes changed repeatedly. For example, postcards, which were printed in 1893 in the USA, had being selling as souvenirs. In the British Museum there is a postcard – “valentine”, which was dated the 15 centuryIt was sent by the Duke of Orleans to his wife, while he, being imprisoned, wrote love letters intended for her.

So, there can be stated the fact, that the greeting cards had appeared first. Greeting cards were widely disseminated at the end of the 18 and at the beginning of the 19 century in England. Cards often were drawn by artists. The first printed greeting card was made to order of Sire Henry Cole. It had size 12x7 sm and impictured Christmas family supper. The picture was subscribed: “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

The first postcards came into existence in 1869; they were printed in Austria and looked as cartridge paper pieces without picture, but with a stamp in the right corner. Picture was added later and after that it had got the name “picture postcard”.
Advertising postcard and Russia

Origin of postcards in Russia owes to advertisement. Advertising postcards appeared in the 19 c. in Europe and moved to Russia with wares. Souvenir and advertising cards with elements of brand style of the company were embedded into boxes of sweets of the “Partnership of A.A.Abrikosov & sons”. Factories of the Partnership produced chocolate, candy, caramels and other confectionery (In 1918 Abrikosov’s factory was socialized. Now - Konditerskiy Kontsern “Babayevskiy” OJSC).

It’s known, that postcards, advertising cards or even music-sheets of the specially composed melody (as “Waltz-bon bon”) often were embedded into boxes with company’s production. Its success at the All-Russian art and industrial exhibitions in Moscow, where the “Partnership of A.A.Abrikosov & sons” got the highest awards, the Abrikosovs decided to dedicate the extremely smart card to those dates. Pretty boy and girl, happy, in expensive smart clothes, were so beautiful, that the postcards were kept in families for years. Postcards were intended to remind customers of themselves, of their happy childhood and of the Abrikosovs’ company as well.

More original and effective advertisement hardly could be imagined! Card doesn’t contain images of sweets – h. e. nobody foists company’s production on customer, but at the same time it appeals to his soul – it underlines his best parenthood. That card shows Russian traditions which are related to those non-post cards.

In 1898 commune of the St. Eugenia issued the first Russian postcards. Heretofore postcards in Russia were mostly imported; there was no own production. So called “golden age” of postcard began since 1898 and lasted two decades until 1918.

Postcard in the 21 century

In spite of rapid growth of means of communication postcard doesn’t loose its meaning today. Nevertheless, the meaning of the postcard decreases, because almost all correspondence is sent in envelopes now. But greeting card feasts with new types and decoration, becoming an original souvenir-gift. Advertising cards are still actual, but they aren’t embedded into wares’ packages. Now they are placed in special stands in prestigious megapolices’ institutions. There has appeared a new trend in design and making of postcard – “business” card, one of the types of which is corporative card.

And here is a new boom of postcards. It’s called “postcrossing”. This ardour for postcards in the world has begun several years before and its aim – free exchange of postcards among people from different countries and continents.

You register yourself on the site, fill in the form and get random addresses of people who would be very glad to receive a postcard. You send postcards and you receive postcards, but until the last minute you don’t know the name and the country of the sender – it’s a surprise. But what a surprise it is! When you go home, tired and exhausted, and suddenly find in your mail-box a beautiful postcard from England, France, Taiwan or other country with the best wishes of happiness, you surely would like to smile! Amazing things happen with schoolchildren and students, who are fond of postcrossing – there appears irresistible wish for studying English.

Not long ago there has started Russian project – and it becomes possible the exchange of postcards for those, who don’t speak English. The concept of exchange is the same as at the international site.

In a word, a history of a postcard continues.

Just bestow joy upon your nearest and dearest people, clients and partners, acquaintances and friends – give them postcards!