The use of postcards to send greetings to friends and family has sharply declined in recent times, mainly due to the rise of email and social media. Postcards take days, weeks, or even months to reach, and buying and posting them requires both time and money. Yet, there is magic in sending handwritten postcards that cannot be found in the digital world. Postcards travel large distances and pass many eyes before they reach their intended recipients and at the same time are more intimate and personal than an email or social media post. Kept in a safe place, a postcard is a physical reminder that someone thought of you, and cared enough to make the effort of sending it. It is a memory that lasts.
Postcrossing is an online platform that was built to help revive the magic of postcards, allowing anyone to send and receive postcards from all over the world. Right now, there are 802,772 registered members in 248 different countries and territories. Collectively, they have sent 67,864,990 postcards, which have traveled 341,892,313,215 km — that’s 8,531,311 laps around the earth or 444,705 return trips to the moon or 1,142 return trips to the sun!
In Bangladesh, the 8th most populous country in the world, there currently are 112 Postcrossers, up from 74 just a few days ago. Much of this sudden increase in membership is due to fact that the country’s very first public Postcrossing event took place yesterday, on July 31, 2022. The event was held at the University of Dhaka’s Department of Philosophy and organized by two of Bangladesh’s most active Postcrossers, Muhammad Nurul Amin Bhuiyan and Tariqul Islam, and myself. We are very grateful to the Department’s Chairman, Professor A. K. M. Haroonar Rashid, for providing us with a venue for the event, and to the University’s Debating Club for promoting the event among students across campus.
After opening remarks from Professor Rashid, I gave a brief overview of how Postcrossing works, and Amin, Tariqul, and another Postcrosser, Swaad Amin Roza, shared their Postcrossing experiences with the audience. Then followed the workshop part of the event, during which participants were given step-by-step instructions on how to open a Postcrossing account. 32 participants signed up right there and then, using their smartphones. Others took notes so that they can sign up on their computers at home later. We provided participants with pre-stamped postcards and collected the ones that were completed at the end of the event. Journalists and photographers from three national newspapers were present to document the event. Here are some impressions:
All in all, Bangladesh’s first-ever public Postcrossing event was a huge success and hopefully will have a lasting impact!
- “Travelling the world through postcards,” Dhaka Tribune (1 August 2022)
- “ঢাবির দর্শন বিভাগে ‘মিট পোস্টক্রসার ফ্রম বাংলাদেশ’ সেমিনার,” Nagorik News (1 August 2022)
- “পোস্টকার্ডে লেখা নিয়ে সম্মেলন,” Daily People’s News (1 August 2022)
- “Postcrossers: Reviving a lost art with strangers and postcards,” The Business Standard (19 August 2022)