Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More than one Postcrossing account: what do you think?

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Last week I sent this postcard to someone in Germany. It arrived in 6 days: awesome. Then yesterday another German address came up... and it was to the same name at the same address! Wait a minute, I thought this wasn't supposed to happen on Postcrossing? Lo and behold, it was the same person with a different account.

I've heard that people do create multiple Postcrossing accounts - I guess to get around the limits on how many postcards they can send? Initially I felt sort of cheated, like - hey, I just sent a postcard to this guy! But I pondered it a bit further, and figured he's really enthusiastic about postcards, and he clearly cares enough to register them quickly. He also has a full, robust profile, and has had both accounts for nearly a year with around 200 postcards sent and received in each. So why not send to someone who's really enthusiastic and will register immediately?

One of the things I love about Postcrossing is the serendipity, so I did feel taken aback to be assigned to send a postcard to the very same person basically one day after he registered the first one. In that sense, having multiple accounts is sort of cheating the system. But I'll admit I have often toyed with the idea of opening a second Postcrossing account myself - my username there long predates this blog, so it is not Missive Maven. Something always holds me back from doing it, though; I guess it's a combination of some weird sense of ethics plus really wanting to keep all my stats in one place. Under my current account, I am allowed to have 15 postcards at once, and the way it works out, I usually end up sending one new one a day.

I've got a postcard traveling in the USA right now that's been traveling for 40 days and the recipient hasn't logged into Postcrossing for a month, so I am pretty well prepared for that one to expire... and then there are all the postcards that get sucked up into that giant country on another continent that has a poor track record, in my experience, with postcards actually arriving or getting registered. So I've had the max number traveling and, again, I've been tempted to make that second account. I'm now repeating myself, so I'll just stop and ask for your feedback:

What do you think? Do you have more than one Postcrossing account? Do you think it's inappropriate or no big deal?

17 comments:

  1. The postcrossing website itself isn't clear on the subject, and other people have asked the same question and come down on different sides in the forum:
    http://forum.postcrossing.com/viewthread.php?tid=27576

    Apparently you would need a different email address for each account.

    Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with someone having multiple accounts. It's not like I need to serve a writ on the person.

    My problem with postcrossing is another:
    I have sent more than 100 cards from my (one and only) Postcrossing account at the cost of around US$300,- and have received a similar number of cards. But only about 5 of them charmed my heart. It was difficult for me to detect any considered thought or effort in most of the cards.

    Part of me feels that postcrossing is the postal equivalent of a brief flirtation. The site isn't constructed to encourage some kind of continued communication. Instead (as those monthly statistics mails suggest) it concentrates on things like the number of cards sent and the variety of different countries sent to. Perhaps I don't have it in me to take the extra step of writing someone á la Emily Dickenson: "I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too?" and hoping for a reply.

    So for the moment postcrossing is for me a kind of postal fast food: I use it when I get twitchy and need to "do some mail" and haven't a letter lying around waiting for a reply.

    I'm trying my luck with sendsomething.net, which I think is more to my liking. I suppose it takes patience, effort and courage to develop some kind of fulfilling "postal relationships" if I can use such a phrase. No doubt that is true for postcrossing and sendsomething equally, as well as for other postal endeavours.

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  2. David, thank you for your very thoughtful and insightful comments.

    I've shared similar thoughts about Postcrossing - impersonal, boring, or even offensive postcards - but then I get something out of the blue that's just wonderful. I'm also really keen on the stamps, and the "surprise postcards coming from far away" sentiment. Sendsomething is its own fun, but I've had far more postcards and mail items go off into the void - meaning, they never get responses or even acknowledgements - and I do appreciate the fact that if one doesn't register a postcard, it does have consequences.

    I will say that I have picked up a number of long-term, quality pen pals through Postcrossing. But as you said, it takes more than just time - "it takes patience, effort and courage to develop ... fulfilling postal relationships."

    Best of luck to you in cultivating yours!

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  3. I don't personally have a problem with someone having more than one account, but it's not for me. I have enough to take care of, let alone the complication of a hobby.

    I try to send some mail each day, and PostCrossing helps with that goal, but I don't think of it as epistolary fast food. It's more like a jumping off point, a place to start the conversation. I don't expect much from any individual correspondent, but when I get something great, I can feel the time and thought that went into it.

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  4. I only have one account because, as David says, it's getting expensive. I have sent >100 cards by now, probably 1/3 of them to Finland! (OK--maybe not that many, but the thrill of writing to Finland is definitely gone!) Nothing has blossomed into any sort of a communication, but I do love finding "the right postcard" for the right person.

    Send something is much more satisfying. I've also enjoyed Swap-bot, though taking a break until we return from China.

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  5. Thanks for this post. I have only one account and sadly, I've been remiss, not being active, as I've been busy with my Mail Art 365 project, and often mailing more than one a day. I've made a few postal friends via Postcrossing and some are even doing the MA365 project. I've had a few cards go into the void, and have received a few interesting cards, and I hope to send out a card or two via that site. On the idea of TWO accounts, seems like it misses the point. See you in the mail.

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  6. I'm quite curious about Postcrossing but vaguely alarmed by the idea of receiving offensive mail -- my work place often does controversial things and I've come to dread our mail and vmail at times -- not sure I want to invite that into my personal life...

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  7. Audra, I should have clarified: offensive only because of what I asked NOT to receive, and why. I've not gotten anything you wouldn't want to get at a workplace, just a lot of religious stuff.

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  8. Ahh, of course -- well, whew. Not my cup of tea either, but certainly not make-me-cringe-when-I-get-the-mail.

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  9. I only have one postcrossing account, but one of my friends has created accounts for her kids too, so I guess you could say they have 3 accounts in her household. I can see the point in that and have considered that for my kids, but then I didn't warm to the idea of 'any old stranger' writing to my kids (probably strange, but they're young and you just never know what someone is going to write. I prefer proper penpals for my kids that are the same age as them). So instead I just keep the one account and as a part of that I mention that cartoon and animal postcards are welcome because my kids love to see them! I've received some great postcards to those themes that the kids have really enjoyed!

    And as for me, I don't send enough cards to need another account, but I can understand why some do. I can also understand why you'd like an account in 'Missive Maven'. :) Maybe start another account and see how you like it!

    I also enjoy being on sendsomething (username Rachel) I like how you can search for someone who lives in a certain area, or is interested in a particular item to send (whether it's postcards, letters or what not!) so it's easier to find someone who may have like-minded interests which may bloom into an ongoing pen-ship. :)

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  10. I also am on Postcrossing.com, however I do have two accounts, on the fact that where I was living was really quite quiet and it was a "tourist destination" (Yellowstone, then the Grand Canyon). I really enjoy recieving and sending the cards and have gotten quite a few of my friends to try it out. The ones that have kept up with it, really enjoy the site and one of my friends also signed up for a second account because she saw that my mailbox was "getting attention" daily and she was jealous. It's really neat to get a postcard daily. I mail out my cards the day that I get the address so no one gets neglected. I guess I feel it's ok to have 2 accounts as long as you keep up with it, and if you are planning on being away or can't afford to mail the postcards, don't get addresses and set your account to inactive so you don't leave people hanging. I think postcrossing is like saying "Hey, I don't know you but I thought about you today, and picked this card just for you! I hope you enjoy it!"

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  11. I'm Zmrzlina on Postcrossing, but I am also PostMuse, vevericka, beautifulnonsense, snowman, and peaceandcoffee. However, only my primary profile, Zmrzlina, is active now.

    Back in the early days of Postcrossing you could never send more than 5 postcards, no matter how many cards had been received. That is why some users created multiple accounts. Now that the amount of cards you can have traveling goes up with the amount of cards received, I'm perfectly happy to just have the one profile. Sometimes I'll draw a name or two on the others, just for old times sake, but I can have 56 cards traveling on Zmrzlina and that keeps me quite busy.

    I don't think it is cheating unless the person with multiple profiles is not taking the time to send appropriate cards. There are a few folk who send postcards with the exact same message, typed out and glued to the back of postcards that were already used. That is not really in the spirit of the project.

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  12. This is an interesting post with interesting comments. I am not, sorry to say, a Postcrossing fan (even though I wanted to be). It was very expensive and felt unsatisfying to me. I agree with the first commenter, David. I want a little more of a postal relationship. I didn't like all the comments like "no handmade postcards" and most people didn't seem to write anything of interest on the cards. But that mailbox card you have there is very cool. I would have loved receiving that one.

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  13. I only have one postcorssing account. I feel it is enough for me, but I understand why others want to create multiple accounts. Some people really like postcards. As long as they register and send their cards like they are supposed to, where is the crime in that?

    I once sent a postcard to a user in Germany and not long after that, I got one from him. I found that interesting. I keep waiting to be handed an address that belongs to a friend. I suppose that is possible.

    I never get offended by what people send me. I tell them what I like, but I never say they can't send me a certain picture or a theme. There are a lot of things in this world that I could live without seeing on a postcard, but don't ever want to limit what the person chooses for me. I see the postcard they choose for me as telling a little about themselves, even though sometimes it is a card they picked at random.

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  14. I agree with Gabrielle: one account is enough for me also, and every postcard tells a little something about the sender and thus is interesting and worthwhile. Even the ones with a 'standard' message on the back, which enchant me as well and meanwhile make me wonder about the person behind the card.
    So I’m happy with every postcard I receive (over 200 so far) and I am even more happy with the 'jewels' I receive every now and then: a platypus from Australia or an other card apt to my profile, or a hand made work of art. And even more happy I feel when I'm sending postcards!..

    The reason why some people have more accounts?
    To me it seems that postcrossing might be addictive. And/or it can make people a kind of greedy, and/or feeling to compete (which is ‘fed’ by the postcrossing stats).
    My personal 'addiction' is that I want to please other people, so it takes a lot of effort to find a postcard which matches to the receiver's wishes and to write an appropriate message. So maybe my 'greediness' is that I like to receive 'Hurray your postcard arrived'-messages from pleased receivers :-) And it makes me happy when I see my sent postcards get into other people's favourites walls.

    But the other side is that there are moments that my family - esp. kids - suffer from my PC-enthousiasm (and from that, from my lack of attention to the family...). So there are moments that I have to take a PC-break. And I try to limit myself to sending just a few postcards a week. And that's hard!
    So having just one account is better for me (and my family). And although I think it o.k. for other people to have more than one account, I sometimes wonder if more accounts would be good for other people's health and wellbeing!?!

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  15. I haven't sent that many officials so no need for a second account. I am really active in the forums though and have became friends with many of the people there. With the official it is usually a one time correspondence For me it's both about the person behind the postcard as well as the postcard.

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  16. Late answer ! I'm rather new on postcrossing, things can be slow when postcards you've sent to China or Russia are not registered... So yes, I've opened a second account. I feel a bit guilty but hey, I've bought tons of beautiful postcards, the Lali, the Nouvelles Images and so on, those postcards so many like from France. I want to spread them all around. Because for me, the joy of postcrossing is clearly to send postcards, because, at least for the moment, I'm rather deceived by what I receive, too many cheap, bad quality and/or bad taste cards.
    One of my profile is very precise, "picky" as I've learned the word. The other one is more recent, with very few informations (because I had no time enough, there will be some more later). Guess who's the one who receive the best postcards ? I think few words can be of a better result !

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  17. Late answer ! I'm rather new on postcrossing, things can be slow when postcards you've sent to China or Russia are not registered... So yes, I've opened a second account. I feel a bit guilty but hey, I've bought tons of beautiful postcards, the Lali, the Nouvelles Images and so on, those postcards so many like from France. I want to spread them all around. Because for me, the joy of postcrossing is clearly to send postcards, because, at least for the moment, I'm rather deceived by what I receive, too many cheap, bad quality and/or bad taste cards.
    One of my profile is very precise, "picky" as I've learned the word. The other one is more recent, with very few informations (because I had no time enough, there will be some more later). Guess who's the one who receive the best postcards ? I think few words can be of a better result !

    ReplyDelete