Is This Hobby turning too transactional?

I joined this amazing Hobby on 26th July 2021, Soon it will be my second Postcrossingversary. I swap through Instagram, Facebook, and the forum. But lately, I am stuck with the thought that it is becoming more of a GIVE and Take Transaction (Like blank Pc/Just writing HPC) Rather than spreading love. I saw the post about this year’s WPD theme, I loved the Thought of the admin "Postcards are hugs sent through Mails ".

What are Your Thoughts on this? Please enlighten me.



This is only my first anniversary, so I can’t comment on changes through the years. I do, though, avoid offer tag games for a reason similar to your post.


People use Postcrossing for a variety of reasons. Some people are more interested in the collecting aspect of things (collection of certain themes, certain countries etc.) and some are more interested in the connection aspect (care much more about the message than the card itself). You will run into both and I think as long as everyone follows the rules that is okay. But there will always be this ‘connection VS collection’ debate I think.


I don’t think I understand what you mean by ‘commercial’?


I am brand new, but I feel like it’s all about how the individual chooses to use the site.

Someone could choose to use the forums more heavily or choose to just use the official exchange part. Each has a different feel.


I think, it was always the way that postcrossers can be roughly divided into two categories: 1) collecting cards, admiring stamps, pictures etc. (for such postcrossers postcards are ‘endless paper version of cabinet of curiosities’); 2) connecting with people (for such postcrossers ‘postcard is a handshake through thousand miles’)


I can only speak for myself - I had my 10th Postcrossingversary in March and still put as much love and thought into every card as I did in the beginning.
I would even say I can spread the love better because of a bigger stash of both cards and supplies to decorate.

And while a lot of profiles look like shopping lists at the first glance, the cards I receive are usually fully written and very personal and individual, so connection doesn’t necessarily suffer for collection!


I think everyone can use it differently, and that’s good for them! I love the ‘official’ way of using postcrossing, requesting addresses from the site and sending postcards to strangers. It’s a complete surprise this way, and I really just get to connect and send surprises. I enjoy the lotteries too, but this way it’s also quite random. I don’t like to ‘collect’ in this way through offers etc. Just not my vibe! But I feel I get what I came for through the official site, although I recognise this is different for everyone


I noticed that you did not answer / clarify what you meant by “commercial” as @ johnk60 asked. That being so, people come to Postcrossing for a variety of reasons. Most members accept that, but some members behave in a grumpy, snippy and smarmy manner concerning those who “collect.” Really, what skin comes off your (plural) nose if someone enjoys collecting postcards from other countries via Postcrossing?

After 12 years here, I have acquired hundreds of postcards through swaps, Tags, Round Robins, etc. I can look through them and have fond memories. Sometimes I see cards sent to me by members who are no longer in the hobby. That works for me. You need to realize that Postcard Collecting is the third most popular hobby in the world. PostCrossing has a unique niche within that.


Technically, if we were to be very strict about definitions, even official Postcrossing is transactional, since in order to get a postcard from B, I have to first send to A

I jest of course :crazy_face:
I think it’s okay to want to just participate in official Postcrossing, to do a mix of official and forum activities, or just participate in forum activities.
After all, there are many types of people and thus many forms of participation.


I only do official Postcrossing and don’t think it’s in any way, shape or form “too transactional”. I don’t do any forum games/swaps though so can’t speak for those.


I’d love to see the statistics about popular hobbies!


Just out of curiosity, where do you get that number?
(I work in market research, and for most countries, even “collecting” as an umbrella term is not that high up?)


Really ? Wow, I always thought it was a very niche hobby.


As all the others before I can of course only speak for myself.
I’ll have my 10th Postcrossingversary in October 2023 (sent / received around 4,500 cards) and I still love it like I did in the beginning and of course I still put as much love and thoughts into every single card.
Maybe a bit more because I have more different cards, decoration and a wider variety of stamps to try to match the best as possible.

But I’m not quite sure what you exactly mean with “turning too transactional”? :thinking:


You are free to omit swaps and games. That is what I do and I cannot see that there is something transactional. I buy my cards offline and in two onlube shops, one of them only doing charity.


I think Postcrossing reflects real life. I have a friend that is totally money-driven, when we meet she starts to tell me how much she spent for this, how much the holidays costed, it’s the most important thing for HER. For me not at all, but as a friend I try to listen. Then I have another friend that’s totally into cooking (I don’t love it but I like it) and that’s our main subject of conversation. Sometimes I have friends with shared interests, with other friends we compromise, talking a bit of each likings.
I understand Postcrossing has a “transaction looking” side, like I would like to have that, I offer that. But it’s a choice at the forum. And sometimes it’s just what I’m looking for. Other times I wish to be surprised then i participate more frequently at the official side. But I take pauses too, it’s good to give right value to all that is happening here. I miss Postcrossing when I’m in “pause” and then I come back full of energy.


@Midnight4225 what I mentioned was from years ago and things change. Even so, I pulled up this article which shows a consistent pattern. That is Stamps are #1 and Coins are #2. The source here is a domestic one - not accounting for preferences in other countries:


We take part in official postcrossing and monthly round robin with 25 participants. We do it because of our son. He is interesting in opening our mailbox every day. It’s nice to get something new.


I’ve now sent over 2000 Officials (including expireds), all to outside of my country, and I put even more love and effort into the cards I write today than I did when I just started, simply because as another user mentioned, I have more experience, more cards, more stamps.

Every time I draw a name I read the full profile, look at favorites, look at received from my country, read wishlists. I choose a beautiful, collectible postcard inspired by what they write or wish for. Even if their profile is only a few sentences or none, I still add multiple interesting stamps (a mix of vintage and modern). (Because who knows when the next stamp enthusiast will be born?) I write a meaningful message focused on connection.

Several times per week I get registration messages worthy of sharing in the section of this forum called “best registration messages you’ve ever received”, but I haven’t, because there’s just so many. It warms my heart that I can bring strangers such joy. And while it’s not what I’m looking for, I have made a couple of mention penpals as a result of cards I sent.

And I do all of this again in the forum, only in the forum I’m more guaranteed to get something I’m specifically looking for.

So no, speaking for myself, it certainly hasn’t lost the love. And judging by the many amazing people I’ve met in this lovely forum, I know I’m not alone. :heart: