This is a wonderfully simple back to basics idea. You register on Postcrossing.com to get a random postal address from any one of 25,000 other registered users spread across 144 countries. Then you send them a good ol’ fashioned postcard. How nice, for someone to receive a postcard from a random stranger. If they acknowledge receipt of your card on the Postcrossing web site then your address is eligible for a small and random act of kindness by entering the pool of recipients.
Twenty five years ago I had a few pen-pals including one in Australia. It took 4-6 weeks to turn around written correspondence but I will never forget the excitement of waiting for the post. Email has now all but killed that kind of simple pleasure because I could have a year’s worth of electronic correspondence in the space of one day, followed by a face-to-face video call and endless instant messaging. True, global electronic communication has opened up the world to countless individuals who might not have had access to other people or cultures, but it has also largely taken away the anticipation, the waiting that was part of the fun of written correspondence. Maybe in no small way this immediacy has changed our attitude to other things in a web-enabled world. I want it and I want it now.
Anyway I like sending postcards so I like Postcrossing.com. The picture by the way is one of the landmarks in my home town and is winging its way by slow boat to my first Postcrossing recipient, in Finland as it happens, so ‘hei’ to my new Finnish friend.