Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The End of the Postcard and Facebook

Signs of the times: In a poll funded by mobile provider O2, just 16% of 2,000 adults surveyed in the United Kingdom sent a postcard while on vacation. Almost half said they have never sent a postcard. Just 55% of people have received a postcard in the last year. Thirty nine percent call friends or family while on vacation, a third post to Facebook and another 29% email to stay in touch. Couple that with a recent infographic from Facebook that shows that travel experiences account for the most posts on timelines around the world, and you can see why traditional postcards have waned.

The problems with postcards are obvious: They're slow to arrive at their intended destination, and they're targeted to a single family or and individual. With electronic communications, a traveler can update a whole host of friends and relatives with one Facebook post, Tweet, Instagram or email. And they don't have to spend precious vacation time hunting for the right postcard, finding a mailbox and figuring out how much postage might be needed in a foreign country.

An ironic twist: even though Facebook posts can be seen by virtually anyone, 10 percent of Brits shunned postcards because they're worried about the postman reading their postcards.

There might be some good news for the postcard. Given that they're going the way of the handwritten letter, think how thrilled and intrigued someone would be to receive a postcard from you from some exotic, faraway place. And if there's a luddite on your contact list who refuses to join the digital age, they may be the only way to stay in touch.