That very quaint form of communication, the printed postcard, reserved for independent children to their clingy parents and boastful travelers to their (not) distant (enough) family members, may soon become as arcane as the LP or paper-based map. Until the late-90s there were some rather common sights associated with the postcard: the tourist lounging in a cafe musing with great difficulty over the two or three pithy lines he would write from Paris; the traveler asking for a postcard stamp in broken German; the remaining 3 from a pack of 6 unwritten postcards of the Vatican now used as bookmarks; the over saturated colors of the sunset.
Technology continues to march on, though some would argue that it may not necessarily be a march forward. Technology is indifferent to romance and historic precedent, and so the lowly postcard finds itself increasing under threat from Flickr and Twitter and smartphones and Instagram and Facebook.
[div class=attrib]Charles Simic laments over at the New York Review of Books:[end-div]
Here it is already August and I have received only one postcard this summer. It was sent to me by a European friend who was traveling in Mongolia (as far as I could deduce from the postage stamp) and who simply sent me his greetings and signed his name. The picture in color on the other side was of a desert broken up by some parched hills without any hint of vegetation or sign of life, the name of the place in characters I could not read. Even receiving such an enigmatic card pleased me immensely. This piece of snail mail, I thought, left at the reception desk of a hotel, dropped in a mailbox, or taken to the local post office, made its unknown and most likely arduous journey by truck, train, camel, donkey—or whatever it was— and finally by plane to where I live.
Until a few years ago, hardly a day would go by in the summer without the mailman bringing a postcard from a vacationing friend or acquaintance. Nowadays, you’re bound to get an email enclosing a photograph, or, if your grandchildren are the ones doing the traveling, a brief message telling you that their flight has been delayed or that they have arrived. The terrific thing about postcards was their immense variety. It wasn’t just the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, or some other famous tourist attraction you were likely to receive in the mail, but also a card with a picture of a roadside diner in Iowa, the biggest hog at some state fair in the South, and even a funeral parlor touting the professional excellence that their customers have come to expect over a hundred years. Almost every business in this country, from a dog photographer to a fancy resort and spa, had a card. In my experience, people in the habit of sending cards could be divided into those who go for the conventional images of famous places and those who delight in sending images whose bad taste guarantees a shock or a laugh.
[div class=attrib]More from theSource here.[end-div]
[div class=attrib]Image of Aloha Nui Postcard of Luakaha, Home of C.M. Cooke, courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons.[end-div]