“If you send a postcard, you will receive one back”
I was introduced to Postcrossing back in August, 2009. I got the link, registered myself, took 5 addresses (which is the limit of how many cards you can send at once in the beginning) and sent the cards out the next day. Since then I’ve been addicted to the project, though I took some “time off” 2011-2012. In the beginning of 2013 I got back to the project and by today (September 25th 2013) I’ve sent all in all 635 postcards that have been registered of which 287 were sent in 2013. From the beginning the project was easy to understand, the page is in English but it’s easy to navigate in even if your English skills ain’t that good and the about page of the project has been translated to over 10 languages; Finnish, Swedish, Russian, French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese to name a few.
How easy it actually is!
Click yourself to the site and this is what you will see. The basic “how to” is visible and right under it you can click “Create your free account”. You need to write your address, email, name, make up some sort of username and come up with a password you won’t forget. Then click create and you can start sending cards! 🙂 Please remember to update your profile/description about what kind of cards you would like to get or what you’re like! 🙂 No one likes empty profiles and they would rather come up with a fitting postcard to be sent to you based on what you describe yourself as, or what kind of postcards you like!
How many cards you’ve sent and received, how many cards of your current limit are travelling and what’s the distance all together. As I said in the start the cards allowed to be sent simultaneously is 5 but it grows quite fast to 10 and after that you get one more to send after every 50 cards that have been registered.
Sending a card
As visible there’s a “Send a postcard” option on the left of the site. By clicking it you open a window like this:
Rules about the project and confirmation that you’re absolutely sure you want to send a postcard.
There are various options, such as do you want to send and receive cards from your home country and do you want to send cards to repeated countries. I have the first options ticked and second not. (available in “Edit -> Profile”) I want to send only one card to one country at a time and I recommend all newbies to do that as well, otherwise you might end up with 5 postcards sent to Russia and having to wait 20-80 days for the cards to be registered and you to get your first card!
And while sending the card the possible demands you come in contact in some of the profiles are all just wishes, like written in the page:
“You may state which type of postcards you like the most, but you can not make any demands for specific postcards. Your preferences will be used as reference only and not necessarily always satisfied.“
Not all of the cards you send are to the recipients’ liking but you might also receive an ugly card you don’t like!
But when you take an address, go through some postcards you have or go shopping (most postcrossers tend to have a box full of unused postcards waiting to be sent ;)), put a stamp, get a pen and start writing!
Registering the card
There is an ID code given to you while sending a card. That MUST be written to the card or else the recipient might not be able to register it at all and you won’t receive a postcard! But when you receive a postcard with an ID code and message (maybe just the ID code and “Happy postcrossing” or a postcard FILLED with text, you never know!) you get to click yourself to this wonderful page:
Not all of the postcards you receive are to your liking but EVERY card you receive must be registered. And as you try to fill other postcrossers’ wishes you’re happier when people fulfill your wishes! 🙂 I’ve received cards I haven’t liked at all and cards that I’ve liked so much that I’ve wanted to send a thank you postcard back! 🙂
WHY do people do this?
I personally got hooked the moment I sent the first cards, I actually even remember what two of those sent cards looked like! The first card I received came approximately one and a half week after I had registered and sent my cards. It was rather ugly multiview card of some small town in Germany and the background of the card was poison green. It was ugly but I LOVED the feeling of getting something in the mail. Nowadays I’m the one picking the mail in hopes of getting to be the first to see whatever I received 😉 And now that Finland FINALLY got its own Postcrossing stamps as a second country in the World (only Netherlands beat us to it!) I see no point in stopping. At least until the postcrossing stamps are sold out 😉
To be honest I REALLY think the Dutch Postcrossing stamp was a LOT better as it actually depicted postcards. The Finnish stamps on the other hand…
But I buy and use the stamps as most foreign postcrossers seem to like those, even though in most of the cases the receivers haven’t really commented on the huge (bigger than average) stamp.
I’ve also met some of my penpals and postcard pals (more about that later on) thanks to the hobby and received a bunch of amazing postcards from people around the world! How on earth would I have otherwise received a postcard from Iran or Bosnia-Herzegovina?
Thanks to postcrossing we can make someone’s day better by sending them a card they might find after a long and tiring day at work and the same will happen to us. Why not try to make someone’s day with a pretty postcard and a short message? 😉
Some of the top countries in Postcrossing: (most users/most cards sent)
USA, Germany, Netherlands, Russia and Finland
Any fellow postcrossers want to share their opinions about the hobby? Or someone who might want to start sending postcards but has a question or two? 🙂