Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Whose brilliant idea was it to make a huge census before the end of the year, knowing very little of survey design and statistics? 🙋‍♀️ In theory, it sounded like a good idea… but then soooo many more of you replied than we expected, that it has definitely been a challenge to parse through all this data and make sense of the replies. Slowly though, we’re making our way through the numbers and getting a better idea of who postcrossers are, and how we can more effectively stir the project in the future.

So let’s start this analysis by the basics and try to paint a picture of who postcrossers are, based on the things that stand out from the census.

Gender distribution in Postcrossing Age distribution in Postcrossing

We knew this already, but Postcrossing continues to be a lot more popular among women overall, and the age range of the typical postcrosser is quite spread out. Somehow, I expected to see more teenagers reflected in the statistics… but then again, I can’t imagine a teen having the patience to reply to a survey, so that may explain it. 😅 Overall, we’re quite happy about this age distribution, which tells us this is a community that is made out of not just young people, but older generations as well.

Urban vs rural distribution in Postcrossing How comfortable are postcrossers with computers and the internet?

About 74% of people surveyed live in what they consider urban areas, which in hindsight is probably something we should have defined better, as the line between a city and something else is often not very clear — another thing to improve on the next census. And finally, most of us feel very comfortable using computers and the internet (which was option 5 in the scale).

socialmedia

Not unexpectedly given their popularity, most postcrossers seem to prefer Instagram over other types of social media, followed closely by Youtube and Facebook, with Twitter a distant fourth. Note for 2021's census: do a better job at including non-English social networks, which we completely missed! Still, quite a few of you mentioned VK (the Russian social network), Whatsapp and Telegram, WeChat and Weibo and even websites like Ravelry, Goodreads and Bookcrossing.

Stamp collection

One of the questions asked “Are you a collector?”, and 37% of you mentioned you weren’t collectors at all, but almost half of the respondents said they collected postcards and 20% mentioning being stamp collectors. Keep in mind that this was a multiple choice reply, so there’s likely some overlap of people who are collectors of more than one item.

Beyond postcards and stamps, the answers split into a myriad of replies, all with just a tiny percentage each. Here are the top 10 most popular collections: currency, books, magnets, stickers, bookmarks, pens/pencils, rocks/minerals, dolls, tea and art. What we found most interesting though were the choices that just a few people picked, like thimbles, snow globes, fruit stickers, rubber ducks, funko pops… the list stretches into infinity! That said, 11 of you mentioned collecting “elephants” and we hope these don’t refer to the actual animal, or you’ll quickly run out of space at home… 😅

That’s all for today! We’ll continue extracting statistics from the census and will report on them throughout the year. Stay tuned!

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Hi folks! I’m back again with another of my book reviews. Last time I was discussing Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road… and now it’s time for something completely different. As promised, I picked up Sir Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, a book from his Discworld series which stands alone.

Cover of Going Postal

Going Postal's main character is Moist van Lipwig, a con artist given the “option” of turning over a new leaf and breathing life back in Ankh-Morpork’s postal service, which means we start the book with his “execution”, and it takes a while to get round to the post office part. Once it does, the results are a little dismaying for those of us hooked on sending postcards: mail hasn’t been delivered for years, and mostly lies around in heaps in the building, threatening avalanches and blocking off rooms. Moist clearly has his work cut out for him.

As with most of Pratchett’s work, Going Postal is full of humour: that kind of humour that hits the nail on the head. Take this quote about librarians:

People flock in, nevertheless, in search of answers to those questions only librarians are considered to be able to answer, such as “Is this the laundry?” “How do you spell surreptitious?” and, on a regular basis, “Do you have a book I remember reading once? It had a red cover and it turned out they were twins.”

Having worked in a community library for a while, I can tell you that you really don’t go long before you get asked questions like that!

I never really got into the Discworld books before I read Going Postal, but it turned out that what everyone kept telling me was true: sometimes, you just have to find the right book to start with. For me, that was this book, with Moist and the golems and the gargantuan task of not only getting the post back up and running, but also fulfilling some prophecies, avoiding assassination, keeping Lord Vetinari happy, and winning some pretty epic bets. The postal service is at the heart of Going Postal, as you’d expect, and Pratchett’s very conscious of how important those connections between people are, even amidst his humour.

I have to admit that some of the scenes got a little too into the slapstick end of humour for me: there’s an initiation for Moist as a proper postman, once he’s persuaded people to come back and start posting letters, and it relies on things like Moist falling over random items (because postmen end up falling over things in the line of duty, like rollerskates left lying around). It’s a bit heavy-handed at times… but there’s a lot of the intelligent humour that comes from playing with words or saying things which are true in a funny way, too. Moist is a scoundrel, but he grows on you—I found myself really wanting to know how Moist would figure things out and get the mail delivered.

Overall, I’m glad I decided to read this! I’m pretty sure I’ll read Making Money (another Discworld book featuring Moist) in the near future.

Cover of Long Live The Post Horn!

That said, my next review for this blog will be a review of the English translation of Long Live the Post Horn! by Vigdis Hjorth (translated by Charlotte Barslund). As ever, I’d love to hear more suggestions for books I should read. I’ve recently picked up Nick Bantock’s Griffin & Sabine and its sequels, so I’ll be reviewing them soon… but after that, I’d particularly like to read some non-fiction about mail/postal services/postcards. I have a few ideas, but it’d be great to hear yours as well—let me know via the comments to this post, send me a message, or drop a note in the forum thread if anything comes to mind!

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

Here in Britain, in February we’re starting to see hints of spring: there are snowdrops poking up all over the place in my garden, even though there was snow on the ground only a week ago, and I can see the daffodils poking through the earth already. Which makes this topic feel very timely!

In February, write about flora from your country, either native plants or ones that represent your country or area.
Daffs

One of my favourite flowers is actually the national flower of Wales: the humble daffodil, or narcissus. In the UK, the Wales Country Definitive stamp for International Standard mail actually has a daffodil on it, and it’s the stamp I often use for postcards.

The stamp doesn’t really do them justice: traditional yellow daffodils are such a cheerful colour, and they mostly take care of themselves — even without a green thumb, I’ve managed to grow daffodils in my garden. Which is a good thing, because it doesn’t feel like spring until I’ve seen narcissi in flower… and I actually love daffodils so much that I had a bouquet of them for my wedding. They were out of season, since we had a summer wedding, so my wife-to-be made my whole bouquet out of paper for me!

In February, I’ll make sure to write a little about daffodils when I’m sending my postcards — will you join me and write about the flowers and plants that are special to where you live? We’d love to hear more here in the comments, as well as on your postcards.

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February is a busy month in the mail calendar, and we can’t wait for it to start! Are you ready?

Letter Month

We love a good mail challenge around here, and since February is the Month of Letters, it is time to dust off all that special stationery and put pen to paper! It’s the perfect opportunity for reconnecting with family and friends in these socially-distanced times, sending a Valentine card to your special someone, saying thank you to the helpful people in your life… or simply surprising strangers across the world with postcards! 😉

The rules of the Month of Letters challenge are simple:

  • Mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture or a cutting from a newspaper… anything goes!
  • Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

That’s it! The challenge started back in 2012, after American writer Mary Robinette Kowal decided it was time for a break from the internet. She spent a month offline, and asked her friends to communicate with her through letters. The results were relaxing and intimate, so she decided to invite others to join, sparking a yearly flurry of correspondence.
If you’re planning to join this year, you’re welcome to share your progress with us on this forum topic.

Mail Carrier Appreciation Day

Another happy mail-related event coming up is Mail Carrier Appreciation Day, which happens every year on February 4th. This is the day to celebrate our trusty mail carriers, who make it possible for this hobby to exist by delivering all our postcards!

The date falls on a Thursday this year, so make sure to prepare something nice for your mail carrier and give them a smile — for instance, pour your gratitude into a thank you note that you’ll deliver (or affix to your mailbox) for them to discover on their rounds. I’m sure it’ll be the highlight of their day week!

If you can, take a photo of what you did to celebrate this special day, and share a link to it in the comments! 😊

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Look at that — we did it, everyone! Together we reached the much awaited milestone of 60 million postcards received! Hurray!

A postcard might not seem like much by itself, but all these millions of postcards carrying our words and handwriting are such important tokens of friendship and connection in these socially distanced times. Traveling is difficult right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t share a moment with someone far away and take a peek through their window… right here in our mailboxes.

60 million postcards!

And did you know that if we put all these postcards together side by side, we would get a line stretching from London to Seoul? 🤓 Pretty cool, right? But I know you’re all dying to know who guessed the correct time at which lucky postcard 60 million was registered, so without further ado…

Postcard number 60,000,000 (BY-2711325) was sent by YourWitch in Belarus on January 10 2021, and registered today at 10:17:18 (UTC) by Tominni in Czechia!

Postcard number 60 million!

The postcrosser with the most accurate aim was chrisbonham11, whose guess was spot on! Your shiny new box of 100 postcards will be on its way soon!

The other lucky postcrossers who came the closest to the right second were Dorkius, NZ_Chris, mathalie, majewski, Shih-chia, and stokely — brilliant! You will each receive a set of nice postcards as well.

Whether you’ve sent 1 or 10,000 postcards in the past 15 years, you have our permission to celebrate your contribution to this historical milestone with a celebratory slice of your favorite treat (share it with us on Instagram!)… or just by sitting down at your desk and enjoy sending a postcard today, knowing you’re part of this postcard revolution happening all around us. 😊

And last but not least, if you’ll allow us our weepy moment, we’d just like to say thank you to our lovely team (including all the forum volunteers), to all the supporters and ambassadors, and last but not least, to all of you — you’re the reason Postcrossing keeps going, postcard after postcard. Onwards, to 70 million postcards!

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