One of the best new hobbies to emerge in the scene is something that’s actually been around the block but has been resurrected with a new twist – Post Crossing. I came across this new and exciting hobby through my former officemate Kathleen Hernandez – a member of Postcrossing.com for more than 2 years now & one of the administrators of the Travelling Postcards and Postcrossing Around The World Facebook groups – who I ran into several weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been curious as to how it works.
Basically, Postcrossing is an Internet-based project that enables its members – postcard enthusiasts – to receive and send postcards from every and any country in the world. Its members are called Postcrossers and as they send postcards to other members all over the world, they’re delightfully surprised to find out where the postcards they receive in return come from. Is that cool or what?
The word Postcrossing is the lovechild of the words “postcard” and “crossing”. Although it takes on some of the genetic makeup of an older website called Bookcrossing, the way the project works is different from the latter. Here, Postcrossers send postcards to other Postcrossers around the world, which is randomly drawn by the website, and receive the same as well from another Postcrosser that’s also ramdomly drawn by the website. If ever two members get to exchange postcards, it’s a totally lucky random draw. Now that’s what I call suspenseful excitement.
For those who get attached to other members and would like to simply limit their postcrossings to the same postcrosser for life, it is possible. However, they’ll have to do it offline or outside of the Postcrossing website as direct swaps – as these are called – aren’t part of the website’s official activities. I don’t know about you but receiving postcards from different random people all over the world makes for much excitement for post carding, don’t you think?
Although participation in the site is free – all you need is a valid email address and you’re good to join and participate – you’ll have to shoulder any and all expenses related to sending the physical post cards to other postcrossers.
As of June 2015, Postcrossing.com has over 550 thousand postcrossers from about 213 countries. Postcrossers have collectively sent and received more than 30 million postcards over a collective distance of 151 billion kilometers. How cool is that?
BENEFITS OF POSTCROSSING
One of its greatest benefits is you can make new friends from anywhere in the world who also share the same passion as you have for postcards. Believe me, there aren’t a lot of people who are interested in such these days and what a delight it is to meet such people from different places and races.
Another benefit of postcrossing is that it helps keep alive 2 of important parts of every nation’s culture that’s considered to be dying already with the advent of the internet: sending mail via the post office and physically writing letters. We help our postmen and women keep their jobs. Postcrossing also helps us not just promote our very own local tourist spots and culture but to experience the same from others as we receive their postcards.
THE LONG TAIL
Although postcrossing is a free website and is considered to be a non-profit organization, we can learn much from it in terms of doing business, especially in today’s Internet age.
One is target markets. Just about 5 to 10 years prior, this kind of project wouldn’t have been feasible. Why? Market size. But now it is because of the Internet, particularly due to a concept called the Long Tail.
The Long Tail is a business term conceptualized by Chris Anderson in 2004 in his book The Long Tail: Why The Future Of Business Is Selling Less Of More. The gist of his book is this – with the Internet, you no longer need to have a blockbuster to make good profit. It’s because the Internet has made it possible to broaden one’s market and lower costs to ridiculously low levels. One way to better understand this is to look at markets.
For a business to be profitable, it needs to have a big enough market that will patronize its products or services. Prior to the Internet, markets are limited to within a certain area around a business’ physical location. If you’re a lawyer specializing in copyright laws, how many clients do you think will be within a 10-kilometer radius from your office? Not much probably. But with the Internet, it’s possible for you to offer your services to people within a 1,000-kilometer radius! You can service your clients via Skype, Viber and email and only meet physically as needed, say for trials and stuff.
(to be continued…)
Photo c/o Pixabay. Public domain.
Joseph Romana, a.k.a. Seph to his friends, graduated from De La Salle University with a bachelor’s degree in Management of Financial Institutions and finished his MBA at the Pamantasan Ng Lungsod Ng Maynila early this year. Prior to becoming a full-time writer last month, he was a former bank examiner for a government regulatory body, a market and liquidity risk officer for one of the country’s largest universal banks, a treasury fixed income trader for another universal bank and a licensed stock broker at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). For Seph’s other writings, you can check out his website sephromana.com. You can also reach him at email@example.com