It’s In The Mail

20 09 2011

One need now know me for long to know that I am a sap for pictures. Heck, I just blogged about PostSecret and Dear Photograph (again) last week. Photographs in the digital era are changing the ways we communicate. Our phones allow us to capture everything around us, and instantly share it. Dan Rather, speaking of live news, once said that the camera never blinks. In the case of our still cameras, they are blinking quite a bit. But these blinks are shutter clicks.

<span style="font-family: arial; font-size: small;"As our smartphones and cell coverage have gotten better, I have posted hundreds of pics to my Facebook (mostly wacky spur-of-the-moment things), and used the MMS feature to directly share with friends. Worst-case scenario, I will also (gack!) email pics (yikes, that seems so 1999, doesn't it?).

But one thing I have grown increasingly remiss in doing is sending photo postcards to friends and families. I just don’t do it. Sad to say, but I did not send one lousy postcard from London last May. Of course, I posted nearly 1000 shots to my SmugMug (all gloriously linked from FB). I MMSd pics. I checked in at Gowalla and posted more pics. But, alas, nothing in the mail.

All that is changing now with Postagram, the app that sycns with your Camera Roll, FB and Instagram accounts, and lets you send a picture postcard to anyone around the world for a mere 99 cents.

And who, you wonder, would still want to receeive a postcard in the mail? I know two people. My Mom and Dad. Confined to an independent living center in central Florida, they do not get out much, save for when my brother visits on Weekends. And I, some 1600 miles away, get to visit about four times a year. Phone calls are nice, but wouldn’t it be great to toss in a surprise now and then?

Like the pic I just sent to them this morning. It was the one of my daughters at the San Diego Zoo this summer, as they interacted with some colorful birds in the aviary. OK, right before the birds started doing what birds are so wont to do. Yeah, it was a mess. We had fun. And I wanted to share it with Mom and Dad (the before-the-bird-poop part).

I went ahead and purchased a bunch of postcard credits at Postagram so that I can continue to send spur-of-the-moment postcards to them. No rhyme. No reason. Just because.

The business model is sheer genius. It costs 29 cents to mail a postcard, and since photo printing these days can be found for as low as 10 cents retail, I suspect that Postagram has little more than 35 cents in each card. All text (message and address) is entered by the user, so the only thing that has to be done is a trip to the Post Office. The picture can even be popped out of its carrier. Nice profit margin. Nice concept.

Dang. Another one of those why-didn’t-I ideas.

While Mom and Dad will never be with us in the smartphone-to-go crowd, and have never quite gotten the whole email thing, Postagram is the next best thing to being there. Sure, postcards are old school, but sometimes old school isn’t so bad. It may never have really been broken. It just needed a new lease on life.

I hope that Mom and Dad like the Postagrams. I wish that they could be with us for these adventures in life. In lieu of that, though, I hope to give them enough a reason to look forward to getting the mail. The aperture of my mind sure wishes it could be there to take that picture.

Dr “Shutter Bug” Gerlich



One response

20 09 2011
Tony Spencer

What a great post. I am going to try one now.

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