Is the Internet Stamping Out Postcards? - Page 3
This divergence between young and old is quite noticeable at times. On your next trip, nestle into a cosy café with an espresso, and people watch. You might notice young people flocking to any café with Wi-Fi to send their holiday emails. In the same place, older people might be sitting opposite, carefully working their way through stacks of postcards. And sadly, as communications technology becomes more prevalent, postcard and letter writing is vanishing. According to the website SFGate, the number of postcards delivered annually in the United Kingdom has fallen by five million. They go on to say that Americans are getting too lazy to write postcards, even though 90% of the population love receiving written correspondence.
Another possible reason for the increasing lack of postcards today is the emergence of social networking, especially Facebook. This is a different form of communicative experience. I don’t mind too much when people upload the odd picture here and there throughout their trip. However, the creation of a massive holiday album before the people even come home is pushing it. I find it strange – go and enjoy your holiday…show the photos to your friends when you get back. Nevertheless, users are free to ‘like’ photos, comment on them, and interact with each other. Some users even ‘Check In’, throughout their holiday. Some friends enjoy broadcasting their location to the masses. For example, a friend recently visited Prague. In the morning, he checked in at Cafe Louvre, at lunch time, he checked in at Café Nona, and after that, a final check in at the U Fleků pub. I don’t need a postcard if I know exactly what’s happening on the trip. So in my opinion, Facebook also fails to match a traditional handwritten card in terms of warmth and personality.
So, conclusions? A postcard looks far better on your fridge than on the screen of your smartphone. If I want to look at Zeppelins on my smartphone, I’ll check Wikipedia. If I receive a postcard from Ulan Bator, I might pause for a moment, considering the place. Then I’ll flip it over, wondering who sent it. If I know them well enough, I’ll immediately be able to judge their identity through the handwriting. My eyes will drift up and to the right, to the stamp. It looks exotic. Foreign and mysterious. Of course, I’ll also wonder about the postcard’s intrepid journey transcending continents. I might even wonder how long it took to reach me, but my good friend never wrote the date. Such is the power and intrigue of that little piece of card.Continued on the next page