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Today I´d like to introduce my favourite website to you....it´s www.postcrossing.com. A website that went online in July 2005 and gives the users the chance to send and receive postcards...not e-cards, but snailmail cards. And the most exciting fact is: you send the cards to random users and get cards by other random users. So you never know where you will send something and when and from where something is coming to you...Sounds crazy? Yes, it is! And its a lot of fun!
1. How I found it and how it works...
It was the beginning of August when I looked at www.bookcrossing.com through the forums and found a link to www.postcrossing.com. As I love snailmail a lot and love to get postcards too and even collect them already for many years, that postcrossing immediatly drawed my attention. And after a short look on the website I decided to join. That was in the beginning of August.
Postcrossing is a project started by Paulo, a guy from Portugese and it is very simple to do postcrossing. You just have to join, it´s completly free. After you have registered yourself, you can write a bit about you in your profile. The best is to write a bit about yourself and also about what kind of cards you like to receive (Viewcards, cards with cats, planes, ships, art etc). That makes it easier for the people who will send you something and it will be more likely that you get card you really like.
After registering you can send 5 cards. You have to get the adresses by clicking on the "send a card" button. Then the system chooses a random postcrosser who will geht your card. on a map of the world you can see the cards destination. A few seconds later you´ll find an email in your mailbox- with the adress and the postcrossing-ID. Postcrossing-ID? Yes, thats a very important number. It consists of two letters (they are for your country, my cards all have IDs with a DE for Germany, cards from Great Britain have always a "GB") and als some numbers. These numbers count from the beginning of postcrossing, so the numbers are getting higher and higher in every country :)
Never forget to write the ID on the card, because with this ID the receiver registers the card when it arrives. And when the card arrives, 3 things happen: You get an email, most likely with a "thank you" from the receiver. Maybe he even offers to end you a card too! the second thing that will happen is that your adress now comes into the queue of people whose adresses are given now to people who want to send new cards...that means you will recieve a card soon!! And the third thing is that you are allowed to send a new card now! So you can alsways have 5 cards travelling at the same time.
Thats it, its a simple idea, but its so much fun and it made me and many of my friends already addicted. Its so exciting to wait for new postcards or to see where the own cards traveled to. Last weekend I sent a card to New Zealand, I can´t wait until its arrived, as it will be a nice long line on my world map...
2. Features of the site
The webmaster keeps the site quite simple. There are no pictures and just a very litte ad (google ads). The rest on the site is a bit text and maps.
The texts are the FAQ and just big charts that show where you cards travelled to and for how long they did that and do that. You can also see where all of your cards came from and from which user and which country. And how longed they travelled.
There are several maps on the site. Every user has an own map that shows its own activities. Its great to look at it, but its to small, within Europe I have so many lines, I can not see anything anymore! The same is also true for cards to North America. Even more full are the maps that show all cards ever received through postcrossing since it started. That means all 25000 cards! There are also maps that show us where postcrossers live in the world and another map gives an overview of cards that travel right now. Only the last 300 cards are shown and if you life in a place where hardly postcrossers live, you can look if there is something coming to you!
At the moment postcrossing has 6194 users from 116 countries and as I said more than 25000 cards were already received through the project. At the moment 10795 travel. And the numbers grow-its fascinating.
The webmaster also seem to like statistics, so its possible to see how many user are male and female, which card was the slowest ever, how long it usually takes a card to arrive and so on.
Its possibleto contact other users. You can send a private message to another user. Usually you use it if you wait for a card to arrive and ask about it.
You ask yourself what happens if a card gets lost? It will expire. After 60 long days. Then you are allowed to send a new card.
An interesting new feature is that its possible to see when the other users have logged in for the last time. I always look at that when one of my cards travels a bit too long (well, sometimes i´m maybe a bit impatient ;)), to find out if this person is active at all. If not you can usually conclude that the person is on holidays or something like that.
3. After 3 months as a postcrosser...
After 3 month at postcrossing I have sent 46 cards, received 42 and 6 cards travel. Yes, 6 card travel, one of my cards expired. it should have travelled to Pakistan, I´ve tried it 3 times but no card arrived :-(. I have send cards to many countries, mainly in Europe and North America. There are also the most users. And I have received also a lot of very nice cards. Especially happy I´m about cards from Singapore, Australia and Hawaii. Every day I´m looking forward to looking into my mailbox and more and more often I find something in it. Today i found there two cards. One from Illionois and one from Norway :). And i´m always very happy when one my cards arrive somewhere in the world. I always can not wait to see where my next card will go to ;).
Postcrossing is great fun and really one of my favourite websites. If you like to find something nice in your mailbox and also want to brighten up other peoples day with nice cards from your hometowns, then join this great website :)