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 Earth. But 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 www.postcrossing.com, 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.
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!