21st Century Postcards
I’m a luddite in some respects, and I always have been. As a kid I wanted to be Laura Ingalls, and I dreamed of eating by candlelight and panning for gold and walking to school and running free on a 19th century farm. I even begged my mom to make me a long gown and bonnet and get me a metal lunch pail to take to school (totally weird, I know). And even today, I love old-fashioned things like hand-written letters and physical (versus online) stores and paper lists.
In light of my tendency to yearn for the simplicity of the past, it’s ironic that I now live in the land of the future — Silicon Valley. But I love the future too. Surrounded by things and people and ideas revolving around technology, it’s hard to not feel excited about the promise of innovation. I love the way technology helps me keep track of information and stay connected to people and see my parents who live thousands of miles away and learn new things and understand the world around me. But at the end of the day, I don’t think technology can replace the joy of physical relationships and tangible goods. I think they need to gracefully co-exist.
One of the most concrete examples of this is the mailbox. I don’t want it to go away, despite the rise of companies focused on virtualizing mail. I love finding real letters in the mailbox…feeling the paper and seeing a loved one’s handwriting and knowing they took the time to sit down and write something. My mom is really great at this (thanks, mom)!
So…in an attempt to marry my real life with my virtual life, I just tried out a postcard app called Postagram. It was simple: upload photo from phone, write short message, upload address (I sent one to my sister), pay, and hit “send.” Yes, my sister won’t get a handwritten card, but she will get a smiling photo of my 4-yr-old in a tie when she opens her mailbox one day next week! This whole process took me under three minutes, and it’s a great way to communicate in a new and interesting way.
If you like this idea, there are lots of companies in this space:
- Cartolina Postale (app is free, $1.99 per postcard)
- GoPostal (app is free, $1.29 per postcard)
- Postagram (app is free, $0.99 per postcard)
- Soda Snap (app is free, first few postcards free too)
How do you stay in touch with your loved ones? Do you love real letters, or think of them as a thing of the past?