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Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "postcrossing"

April Fool!!!

April 2nd update: Sorry guys, just kidding! We’re not really changing from postcards to letters… we love postcards! But I’ve always wanted to do an April Fools’ prank and this year was the year I finally convinced Paulo to go along with it! 😜

Over the years, we’ve heard from many postcrossers on how they wished they could write a bit more on their postcards. Some people are able to use very thin pens and make their handwriting extra small… but often this is not enough for the more talkative members with plenty of stories to share. Communication should be encouraged as it is at the heart of Postcrossing, so in order to give these wordy members an outlet for their creativity, Postcrossing is henceforth changing its format from postcards to letters!.

Aren’t letters great? Plenty of space for the local news, the weather report, a lengthy update on affairs of the heart, or this month’s writing prompt on your favourite breakfast!

It feels good to expand beyond the constraints of the normal 10×15cm rectangle and just write to our heart’s content. Any message that fits on a postcard will also fit inside a letter anyway, so don’t let the extra space intimidate you — you can write as much or as little as you’d like, or even include a drawing to help you fill out the space.

Let’s put all that delightful writing paper to work — it’s time to write, write, write!

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For the second post in this series about Postcrossing’s statistics, we wanted to find out when does more postcard registering activity happen on the project. Intuitively, we know most postcrossers probably register their postcards later in the day, when they’re back home after work or school… but when exactly? And in which day of the week is most mail delivered?

To find out, Paulo chose all the postcards registered last year, adjusted their registering times to each recipient’s local timezone and then compiled the numbers, putting them together in a graph. Here is the result, showing the total number of postcards registered in each day of the week in 2017:

Postcards registered per day

As one would imagine, many more postcards are registered between Monday and Friday than on weekends. Wednesday wins by a narrow margin, with a total of almost 900,000 postcards registered! Tuesday comes as a close second, while Monday is remarkably quiet in comparison. This is to be expected though, as many postal operators stop working during the weekend, and mail is only processed after they reopen.

Predictably, Sunday is the slowest day in Postcrossing, with a total of less than half a million postcards registered. As a curiosity, did you know that 2017 had 53 Sundays and just 52 of the each of the other days? Since there are 365 days in a year, there’s always an extra day to account for… but even with that extra Sunday, things were still quiet on the last day of the weekend.

Since we had our hands in the data, we decided to find out how these totals were distributed throughout the day! To do this, we summed the number of postcards registered in each hour of each day for the whole year, and then plotted this heatmap:

Postcards registered per hour

It’s easy to spot the red frenzy of activity, right? Despite Wednesday generally being the day with the highest number of registered postcards, the registering peak actually happened on Tuesday nights last year, with a cumulative total of 75,155 postcards registered between 8 and 9pm.

In contrast, the slowest time in Postcrossing in the whole year was on Mondays between 4 and 5am, with less than 1000 postcards registered in those early Monday hours throughout the whole year.

Do these statistics reflect your experience too, or were you perhaps surprised by them? Let us know in the comments!

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Ten years ago today, Paulo launched a fresh version of the website, which included cool features such as avatars, maps, the inactive state, the little ticker on the frontpage that shows what’s happening now… aaaaaand this blog too! 🎉

Although the Postcrossing blog is but a small part of the website, it’s something that we’re particularly proud of. Through it, we share news and interesting stories, introduce members and their creative endeavours, talk about mail and stationery, celebrate milestones… and we also hear back from you on the comments, which is the best part!

Ten years of existence is definitely something worth celebrating, so today we’re digging the archives for some of our favourite posts and series.

Looking at tags on the blog’s Archive page, it’s easy to spot that our longest series of posts have featured spotlight interviews, in which we ask a few questions to members of the community. We’ve talked with 113 postcrossers so far, who have showed us their mailboxes, their mail carriers and their favourite postcards. We’ve talked to many other postcrossers too, about the wonderful meetups they’ve organised, their quirky postcard walls and nice friendship stories they’ve experienced because of the project.

We’ve also collaborated with museums, libraries, schools, charities and post offices — all of which we’re quite proud of.

Ten years later, we’re still fond of researching the history of post offices and postcards and finding out about other cool projects that use mail. And one of our favourite parts is coming accross cool new artists and stationery makers.

And last, but not least, the Little Mail Carriers were introduced to the blog back in 2010 and are very dear to our heart. They’ve traveled around the world several times over, reporting their adventures and showing us the beauty and charms of the places where mail travels to. Who knows where will they pop up next?

Here’s to another 10 years of bringing you nice stories from the Postcrossing community and the world of mail! 😊

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On our open poll, many of you asked to see more statistics on the blog, so we thought we’d introduce a new series of posts all about Postcrossing and numbers. And what better way to start than by looking at some of the data from the year that just ended, right? Let’s do this!

5,425,005 postcards received

That’s right — almost 5.5 Million postcards were registered last year, which was pretty neat! We’ve just passed the 45 million milestone a few days ago, and are on track to celebrate the big 50 later this year. Woohoo!

25.7 days (average) and 17 days (median) travel time

Do you know the difference between an average (or mean) and a median? To calculate the average of a set of values, you sum all the values in your set and divide them by the total number of items in that set. This is great if your values are more or less well distributed, but outliers (both large and small) often distort the end result disproportionately.

Enter the median, which can be roughly described as the “middle” value of a data set. If you put all the travel times in a looong ordered line, 17 days would be the value in the centre of this distribution. This is a more reliable value to determine how many days most postcards travel before reaching their destination. Some will be quicker, some will be slower, but on the whole, postcards seem to travel somewhere around 17 days.

27,380,992,088 km (or or 17,013,759,698 miles) of total traveled distance

That’s… yeah. I don’t have words for it neither. We’re way beyond Pluto at this point!

19,985 km (or 12,418 miles) was the longest distance traveled by a postcard

Below is the postcard that traveled the longest distance last year. Can you guess between which countries it was exchanged?

It’s a trick question because of the content… but if you guessed New Zealand and Spain, you’d be right! Postcard NZ-155857 traveled between a pair of antipodal points: from the north tip of New Zealand to the south part of Spain.

916,800 postcards were sent from Germany 🇩🇪

Germany was the most active country last year, with almost a million postcards sent from there! Here are the other countries and territories in the top 20:

RankingCountryPostcards sent
1🇩🇪 Germany916,800
2🇷🇺 Russia776,853
3🇺🇸 U.S.A. 606,439
4🇳🇱 Netherlands307,189
5🇫🇮 Finland 247,153
6🇹🇼 Taiwan239,432
7🇨🇳 China221,390
8🇨🇿 Czechia204,019
9🇧🇾 Belarus178,794
10🇫🇷 France152,051
11🇯🇵 Japan132,546
12🇵🇱 Poland108,721
13🇬🇧 United Kingdom102,245
14🇺🇦 Ukraine89,283
15🇨🇦 Canada85,731
16🇭🇰 Hong Kong70,432
17🇧🇪 Belgium61,333
18🇦🇹 Austria53,435
19🇲🇾 Malaysia53,050
20🇦🇺 Australia52,137

hepman sent the most postcards

Dedication and a speedy postal service helped the Germans climb to the top of the charts, where they took most of the top spots! Here are our 20 most avid postcrossers:

RankingPostcrosserCountrySent
1hepman🇩🇪 Germany2,586
2DJHK🇩🇪 Germany2,547
3uttia4a🇩🇪 Germany2,533
4Willi🇩🇪 Germany2,506
5rosenbusch🇩🇪 Germany2,473
6Klausdiemaus🇩🇪 Germany2,471
7gremlin1🇩🇪 Germany2,456
8tullipan🇩🇪 Germany2,411
9Antje321🇩🇪 Germany2,395
10Marcii🇩🇪 Germany2,385
11ned44440🇮🇪 Ireland2,384
12Minna71🇫🇮 Finland2,348
13mapcardcollector🇬🇧 United Kingdom2,336
14Matin🇩🇪 Germany2,316
15fisherman🇮🇪 Ireland2,314
16chrissybaby🇮🇪 Ireland2,309
17Bock🇦🇹 Austria2,272
18marie61🇩🇪 Germany2,255
19radiofan🇦🇹 Austria2,249
20TimSarah🇩🇪 Germany2,199

And that’s it for last year’s numbers! If you’re hungry for more, Postcrossing has a group of pages dedicated to statistics where you can find more data to explore.

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Late last year, Deutsche Post and Berlin’s Museum for Communications launched a video competition themed “Why do we still write letters?”, where people could post videos explaining the charm of written mail. They got over 400 video submissions, which you can see on their YouTube channel. They’re sweet, touching stories of why we still put pen to paper to write to to each other.

We only heard about the competition once it was over, but were happily surprised to find a video about Postcrossing among the entries! Have a look:

Johannes (aka joze-post) made this charming video, which does a great job of portraying the randomness of Postcrossing. He didn’t win the competition… but he stole our hearts with the cheerful music and fun details about some of the postcards. Well done Johannes! :)

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