Facebook and postcards


I’m not a Facebook-hater. I know its interests aren’t perfectly aligned with mine; but as long as I don’t give it too much time, it’s fine. And I love that it’s kept some friendships going, long after distance or time might have had them dying away.

But Facebook will never be as great as the real world. It’s the same as how downloading an e-book isn’t the same as an Amazon order dropping through your letterbox. A postcard is always more fun than a tweet, whatever new updates Twitter roll out.

I love the postal system. I still like to write letters (and am massively overdue for my next one to Louise Halvardsson). One of the main texts for my (abandoned) PhD was Jacques Derrida’s Post Card. My pretend publishing company is called Postal Press. I await silent Tristero’s Empire. There’s something magic about the mail.

While I love the way Facebook keeps people in touch, it’s a rather passive communication – like a stream of round-robin letters. You can follow someone without really engaging with them. There are even a few people on my friends list that I can’t remember where I know them from. So I thought I would try sending postcards to as many people on my friends list as I can.

(I currently have 573 people on that friends list. This may take some time. And a lot of stamps.)

It will be good to get in touch with old friends. I suspect this will also be an interesting experiment. There’s something transgressive about blurring the online/offline boundaries. I imagine there are people who are happy to be friends on Facebook and don’t want to share their postal address. And, like all experiments, there is the possibility of something unexpected. (But, don’t worry, I’m not planning anything too real, like the woman who tried to visit all her Factbook friends).

Well, I’d best get started. Who wants a postcard?

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