Australia Post has tweaked the concept of a traditional postcard just enough for us to fall in love with them all over again.
In mid-2012, Australia Post launched a smartphone application that allows you to send a customised postcard anywhere in the world. Using the iPhone only app, you can upload any photo from your phone and enter up to 15 lines of text. Fill out the destination address, make payment via credit card or PayPal and within 6 business days, your postcard will arrive at its Australian address (a few weeks if you’re posting to a non-Australian address).
I recently discovered that my mumsy (think Prince Hapnik from The Great Race) has kept every birthday card I have ever given her. Sifting through the pile, I realised that there wasn’t one printout of an email or photo from my travels over the years. Maybe they had been read and deleted, printed and recycled or lost in the abyss of a spam folder.
The postcard is dead, long live the postcard!
1. More personal than both email and traditional postcards.
2. Write in your downtime or get caught up in the moment.
3. Arrives home before (not three weeks after) you do.
PRICE: $1.99 to Australian addresses and $2.99 to addresses outside of Australia.
One: More personal than both email and traditional postcards
You no longer have to use those tacky souvenir store postcards, complete with old photos of landmarks you haven’t visited!
The Australia Post app allows you to upload a photo from your iPhone and use it as the front of your postcard. This gives you the opportunity to share your favourite moments with the recipient. It might be that photo of you attempting to consume each of the seven different types of apple strudel you deemed candidates for the crown of ‘Best Strudel in Austria’. Or perhaps it’s that perfect, yet highly elusive, family photo. Either way, it’s yours and that means something.
Snail mail may leave the thick piece of card dogeared, but that won’t mean it will end up in the recycle bin. With limited real estate available, you’re going to find yourself putting some thought into what you want to say. Unlike an email, where words are limitless, each word on your postcard will have purpose and the recipient, knowing this, will treasure every one of them.
Two: Write in your downtime or get caught up in the moment.
Because this app only requires a data connection (WiFi or mobile), you can compose your postcard when you’re ready. This is tremendously convenient, as you don’t have to interrupt your day to find a post office queue to stand in. Instead, use the dead time in your hotel. Perhaps its between visits to the breakfast buffet or cups of tea in your room before clocking off for the night.
Alternatively, try taking a photo and writing someone a postcard while you’re in the moment. Early in 2011, I found myself standing in the middle of Shibuya Crossing. Surrounded by hundreds of people, all hopelessly attempting to navigate through the organised chaos, I felt truly anonymous for the first time in my life. This was the kind of anonymity from which existentialist crises can often be sourced and yet I was inspired. Just minutes later, while slurping ramen like a local, this app would have allowed me to share this experience with my closest friends.
Three: Your postcard will get home before you do!
How often have you received a postcard several weeks after the writer had returned home and already provided a blow-by-blow account of their adventure?
Australia Post will deliver your postcard to an Australian address within 6 business days, regardless of where you are ‘posting’ it from. It might not be as quick as email, but it should mean that the humble postcard delivers more than just stale news.
You don’t have an Apple iPhone. The folks at Australia Post haven’t developed an Android version, as yet. Bugger.