What is Postcrossing?

When I started this blog a few weeks ago, I assumed that – as a niche subject – the majority of visitors would be avid Postcrossers like myself. While that’s largely true, I’ve been surprised by the number of people who have visited and said, “But what is Postcrossing?” So I’m going to write an explanation here, rather than having to direct you to the official Postcrossing website. After all, no one likes stolen traffic!

Postcrossing explained


In 2004, a Portuguese student named Paulo Magalhães felt bothered with modern society’s casting aside of traditional postal services – he liked to send and receive real mail. To make amends he came up with the idea of Postcrossing, loosely based on the already popular Bookcrossing. Its premise is simple: “Send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!

In practice, Postcrossing works on a neat system of logical balance. After registering and creating a profile, you request the address of another member to send a postcard to. You are also given a postcard ID [eg. US-123] to write on the postcard. You then mail a postcard to that member. When they receive it, they register it with the Postcrossing website using the postcard ID.

This makes you eligible to receive a postcard from a different, random member. It could come from anywhere in the world which is what makes Postcrossing so very exciting!

To begin with, you are allowed a maximum of five postcards travelling at any one time, but this increases the more you send.

The project has captured imaginations worldwide – there are more than 140,000 members and more than 3 MILLION postcards have been Postcrossed!   There are many interests encapsulated in Postcrossing: stamps, postcards, foreign culture – or, like me, writing. Many people think of it as a kind of micro anthropology. The personal connection with people in other countries makes those countries seem more real and Postcrossing really does create friendship and understanding regardless of sex, age, race or social divisons of any kind.

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3 responses

14 02 2010
Christian

Dear Jenny,
I receveid your postcard on Saturday. wow, what a Cathedral! Thank you very much, it is a very nice card and i really like it! Et félicitation pour ton français, tu le parles à la perfection!

15 02 2010
Jenny

oh merci 😀

I’m really pleased you received it and like it 🙂

27 04 2010
citysoliloquy

Postcrossing is a wonderful invention, the main reason I joined was a general frustration with how most communications are email-dominated which is all well and good but there’s nothing like savoring the written word. I love receiving a postcard from a town I’ve never heard of in a country I’ve never been to.

I’ve had to explain it to my boyfriend, my family and friends because they had difficulty understanding how it works and how the sent/received was balanced. Now I know where to send them for a comprehensive explanation!

The main question I’m asking myself now is how to store them 🙂

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