It’s a picturesque morning. The sun is warming your body as you lie in a blooming field of Jacarandas. As you begin to construct 140 characters in an attempt to give the howling breeze justice you stop, pull out a postcard an rekindle the lost art.
The postcard first arrived on Australian shores in 1869 as an official form of government communication. The detailed imagery accompanying a message gained popularity from civilians who were sending more than 200,000 postcards a day in 1906. The golden age of postcards boomed from 1905 – 1915 with coloured drawings becoming a popular feature that made the cards instantly recognisable.
The Great War saw the first association between postcards and adventure as messages from the front line provided morale for soldiers and families.
While postcards stagnated during the depression, Curt Teich manifested the ‘Greetings from’ design in 1933 to pay homage to the great American cities spaning all 50 states. By 1956 Teich had manufactured over 1000 designs promoting the connecting between travel and postcards.
Fast forward to our current digital age, the threat of a postcard extinction exists. Between 2000 – 2010 household internet usage nearly doubled from 41 – 80 per cent. During this period the cost of sending mail increased which saw the number of postcards sent annually plummet from 2.7 to 1.4 billion.
Social media allows travellers to reach thousands of people with the click of a button, but these happy snaps can get lost in the crowd. A fleeting and intangible post is easily gets swept out of your followers mind as they scroll to the next post in their cyber sphere.
A postcard captures the attention of the receiver. The tangible message tells a story of travelling the world from your hands to the readers making them feel appreciated from the other side of the world.
Matthew Kepnes who is better known as ‘Nomatic Matt’ is a travel expert, New York Times bestselling author and respected blogger who believes the personal element of a postcard gives the receiver a sense of atmosphere that doesn’t come across on an online post.
As a receiver of many postcards myself I can relate with this feeling of importance when I receive a personalised message from a globetrotting friend. Equally, I love the excitement of choosing which brightly coloured card I am going to send to someone near to my heart even when I’m thousands of miles away.
So next time you are lying in a field of jacarandas contemplating how 140 characters will give the place justice, put your phone away and rekindle the dying art of postcards. Your future self will thank you for it.