Do You Know About Postcrossing?

If you’re at all tuned in to the stamp-loving and letter-writing communities across the web, chances are you’ve heard of Postcrossing. Launched in 2005 by people who delight in checking the mailbox (not the inbox) every day, this postal-based project connects people from all over the world through the exchange of postcards.

The premise is simple: Create a profile, request an address to which you’d like to mail a postcard, send it, and wait for one to come to you, all for (almost) free—you do have to pay for postage! (For the visually-minded, this video demonstrates the process, set to philatelic music.) The best part is, you never know what you’re going to find in your mailbox.

Because it’s an international exchange, users can receive a wide variety of stamps, postcards, and even mail art. Many Postcrossers upload images of their unique pieces to Postcrossing’s Flickr page as a visual component to the shared communication. Some are truly amazing!

Since the project’s inception, Postcrossers have sent more than 13 million postcards to addresses around the globe. And it isn’t just mail fans participating. The State Journal reported that several homeschool communities use Postcrossing as an alternative method for teaching geography and history. Letters and stamps can be fun and educational!

Have you ever participated in Postcrossing? If you were to send a postcard to an unknown recipient, what would you write? What kind of postcard would you send? Which stamp(s) would you use? Tell us your stories in the comments.

Favorite Links: 52 Weeks of Mail Edition

On October 9, 2011 (World Post Day!), the Etsy Greetings Team—a group of more than 100 artists devoted to the art and promotion of handmade cards—issued a challenge to their followers: Mail at least one letter, postcard, or note to a friend or loved one every week for a year. People around the world took on the 52 Weeks of Mail challenge, including one blog devoted (almost) entirely to the project. (Do a Google search for “52 Weeks of Mail” and you’ll find many more bloggers and penpal organizations doing the same thing.)

The first 52 Weeks of Mail challenge ends two weeks from this Sunday. If like us, however, you follow the official 52 Weeks of Mail Facebook page (there’s also a Flickr group devoted to the challenge), you’ll know that a whole new 52 Weeks of Mail begins again the second week of October.

For those of you thinking about joining in for the second year, here are some participation ideas from Handmadeology:

Send your card to Grandma (or whomever), enclosing a second card with a stamped envelope, so that she can send a card to someone else! Be sure to explain in your card what you are doing, so she will know why you sent her a brand new card.

Get your kids involved! Tell them stories of how snail mail was all there was when you were a kid. Let them write letters or send cards to grandparents, friends, etc. This will help keep the “art” of letter writing and sending alive.

Encourage friends, relatives and co-workers to join in on the fun, and challenge each other to see who can stick with this challenge.

USPS Stamps will officially be taking part this time around! How about you?

You’re Invited to a #Handwriting Twitter Party!

That’s right! USPS Stamps is delighted to be one of the panelists at the #handwriting chat to be held on Twitter this Wednesday night (Hey, that’s tomorrow!) at 8 p.m. EST, and you are invited to come along! The party is being hosted by The Gracious Girl, and the other panelists are Crane & Co., Sheaffer Pen, and Stationery Trends magazine. Wow!

We’ll be talking about letters and mail and stamps and stationery and pens and handwriting and whatever else comes to mind. Won’t you stop by and share your thoughts? You can even enter to win some prizes!

Want to participate but don’t know much about Twitter chats? Not to worry. The Gracious Girl has, well, graciously, created a simple tutorial that will get you going in no time.

See you tomorrow night!
Mary