This morning on BBC Breakfast they were briefly discussing the idea that no-body sends postcards anymore; that people prefer to use electronic media instead – updates on facebook, e-postcards using their own digital photos etc. Postcards were outdated, unreliable – and who could be bothered to write them? [See also: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/social-media/Facebook-Twitter-sound-death-knell-for-holiday-postcards/articleshow/9039010.cms ]
Well, I’m an oldfashioned gal at heart, and I do still send postcards. Although admittedly on honeymoon earlier in the year my husband was posting updates on facebook throughout the week – letting our friends share the experience, informing them how I couldn’t walk for a couple of days (a trapped sciatic nerve!); showcasing our delight in icecream (I normally avoid dairy so this was a big treat – Irn Bru flavour was my favourite, he preferred the Newcastle Brown Ale flavour!), and puzzling them with the array of picnic tables we discovered (we’re not really that weird/nerdy it all related back to a surreal conversation we’d had with some friends). It brought the week alive for them in the way that a static postcard probably wouldn’t. But I did still send a couple.
I used to write letters to friends, then most of the letters became emails, and now I use facebook – which is not to say that I don’t still write some letters to some people, but even my way of communicating with people has changed over the years. A hundred years ago, this would have been a diary – now its a blog.
What worries me about the potential ‘death of the postcard’ is that we are gradually losing our written ephemera, with so much online/e-only these days are we creating a problem for future historians and archivists? Is there going to be a black hole or gaping chasm in social history from now on? Or are we just decluttering the future?