Sending Postcards to Strangers to Brighten Their Day
During the COVID-19 pandemic, staying connected was vital for many people’s sanity. To many people, staying connected from a distance included social media, texting, and video calls. But one way that many might view as unusual is staying connected via old fashioned snail mail.
About a year ago, during the height of the pandemic, I stumbled onto r/RandomActsofCards, a subreddit dedicated to sending postcards all across the world. This community of more than 76,000 has citizens from every corner of the world. Representing six continents and hundreds of countries, it’s a large community of people that just want to stay connected. And with no need for masks or social distancing, it’s the perfect pandemic activity.
The idea is simple. You can offer, request, or exchange cards (and only cards — they are very strict on this) for any reason, with any willing user. There are offers of birthday wishes for friends and families, requests for life advice and funny stories, and cultural recipe exchanges, among many others. Members simply create posts detailing their offer or request and then private message with those interested.
While this idea of sending and receiving cards is probably appealing to many people, some might ask about privacy concerns, especially when it comes to sharing your personal information on the internet. There is no public sharing of addresses or even specific locations, and many users don’t use their real names. But sharing your address with a random stranger, even through a private message, might still sound alarm bells in many people’s heads. To get around this, lots of users use PO boxes or work addresses for more privacy. Others, though, don’t have a problem with it, and moderators are quick to ban anybody that seems fishy.
The cards that are sent vary greatly. While most of the cards I have sent and received have been travel themed postcards, some users go all out on creativity. I’ve seen offers of hand-painted dinosaur cards (with the dinosaur of your choosing), vintage cards from thrift stores, and even an embroidered rainbow card. And if you’ve received one that is extra special or has really made your day, you can post a shoutout ‘Thank You’ to that specific user.