Is the postcard dead?
How many postcards did you receive this summer? We got one…a month after the senders had returned home! This made me wonder whether there’s still a place for the humble postcard?
When I was a child I loved looking through boxes of old cards saved by my grandparents. They had mostly been sent by my dad during scout camps, trips to the seaside and visits to relatives.
Each contained just a few words and best wishes to the recipients the at home. However, these captured moments of travel history were special and had been saved for future reference.
The earliest recorded picture postcard was sent in 1840. It was hand painted by London writer Theodore Hook and was probably a bit of a practical joke as it was an illustration of postal workers.
The first commercially available postcards were made in America in 1861 and had no picture, just a decorated border. It wasn’t until the 1870s that postcards started being sent as holiday souvenirs.
The ones I rummaged through as a child were black and white, tinted monochrome and colour photographs showing beaches lined with deck chairs, famous landmarks or tourist attractions. They fascinated me as both the pictures and words opened a door to a different time. I’ve always loved history!
I can’t remember the last time I sent a postcard to anyone. I’m much more likely to write about what I get up to on holiday on Twitter or Facebook with no individual recipient in mind. In one way it’s a lot less personal, but I’m able to upload my pictures, write more and share things regularly.
It’s immediate, I can see if people have ‘liked’ my posts and I can even tag certain friends and family if I really want them to see something. The wonders of the digital world!
Social media has definitely taken over from the postcard for me, but it will never have the same longevity. You see someone’s holiday snaps pop up in your timeline one day and they are gone the next. Postcards and the memories scrawled down on them can be looked at again and again. Or maybe they are just consigned to a box in the loft?