🐌 What do you wish you had done differently in your postcrossing journey?

Hey everyone! I’m new to postcrossing and I’m really loving it. It’s really nice to see that a lot of people have sent thousands of postcards! So I’m just curious to know if you wish you had done things differently, or have any piece of advice for the newbies like me :laughing:

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My main advice would be to remember that Postcrossing is a hobby, and it’s supposed to be fun. So don’t take it, or youself, too seriously.

As you have already dug into the forum, you will know there are plenty of complaints, about cards, messages, thank you’s, postal services, variety of countries, Postcrossers, politics -you name it, someone has grumbled about it.
Put it into context-according to the main site around 400 000 cards are exchanged a month and the vast majority result in happy mailboxes and delighted recipients!

Enjoy your time with Postcrossing- sometimes your day will be absolutely made by the tiny connections it creates.

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I didn’t care that much about scanning my cards before sending them and used to just take pictures with my phone and upload them afterwards, but scanning actually doesn’t take that much time at all, especially if you send out multiple cards at once.

Now I sometimes wish I had started scanning my cards right from the start, but it can’t be helped so I don’t fret over it.

As a piece of advice, I’d fully agree with @xxxxyyyyzzzz, don’t let the few “difficult” profiles (hard to please, demanding, no bio at all etc.) or cards you might not like that much go to your head and learn to resist the pressure to always find the perfect card. Your only duty is to send a card to the adress you draw, everything else can (!) be regarded as a bonus. I don’t want to encourage others to not putting any effort into postcrossing at all, but any time I feel somewhat disappointed about a card, hurray message or profile I receive, I try to remember that sending/registering a card is enough and that most of the time it’s impossible to know all the circumstances that led to a disappointing exchange.

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In the beginning I bought a new card for each adress I got.
Which means that I had to take the bus to the next city, walk to the shop, buy a postcard, take the bus home … which always took me a lot of efforts and time and money for the bus.

Then I decided this was too complicated, and bought some different kinds of postcards at once. Now I have a nice stock - a selection of cards. So I just open my cardbox, read the receiver’s profile and try to choose a fitting card from my box. Meanwhile this is one of the things I like most in postcrossing, trying to find the perfect card for the receiver.
Buying different kinds of cards at once is much easier and more effective. In some areas it might be difficult to buy a nice selection of different cards. Internet shops can help a lot.

However, like others said, it’s still a game. Some profiles / receivers turn out to be a bit difficult for me, so that I cannot find out a fitting card. Then I send a random card. Never mind, sending ANY card is all you have to do … everything else is “freestyle”!

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I wish I had discovered some of the postcard boxes early on and had invested in buying one or two of them rather than stocking up on lots of postcards from everywhere. I think it works out cheaper per card with the boxes. I particularly like the 59 parks postcard box ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/059323295X?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title). The cards are good quality and really pretty :grinning:. It’s also important to not get carried away and send too many postcards, so probably setting a monthly maximum budget/ number of cards is a good idea. Most of all, enjoy making connections with others around the world :grinning:

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I wish I had taken a photo of every card (front & back) for myself to remember what kind of cards I have sent, to whom and where. I have just recently started uploading photos of cards to my wall more frequently, so I don’t pictures of every card on my wall.

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I wish I can be a more alert when stranger contact me for private swap. Cheated a couple of times.

Other than that, I don’t wish to re-do my Postcrossing journey. Everything is great for me.

And yes, I’m glad that I meet very nice people on the forum that helps to answer many of my questions when I was a newbie like you. Hope you will enjoy Postcrossing for many years to come!

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Read Community Guidelines and follow them. That helped me a lot when I started. Have fun too, it’s not that bad if cards get lost or damaged or you get cards out of your taste. And be patient, sometimes weird things happen and you might end up waiting cards a long time to come or get registered.

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I wish I had scanned all my cards. Didn’t have access to a scanner for quite a few years and so have missed a lot.

Also wish I had been able to be consistently sending all the cards I was allowed, but finances or other things prevented me from doing that a lot. I’ve seen people who have been around about the same time as me have 10 times as many sent as me!

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Hi eagleray and welcome to Postcrossing! What a great question, I had to think about it for a few hours. I think my biggest personal regret is that early on I spent so much time trying to max out my slots for sending. At the time there were much fewer Hong Kong Postcrossers, and eventually I worried about my rankings and wanted to keep up with whatever metric I considered important at the time - being in the top ten users, being as high as possible on the longest distance sent from HK, etc. After a while the pressure got to me and I didn’t enjoy Postcrossing as much. It felt like a chore, keeping up with the metrics. So after some internal struggle, I let it go and I stopped for some years (I was gone from Sept 2014-April 2017) because I just wasn’t feeling it in my life at the time. It was tough letting go, and it’s not an attitude I’m proud of having had, but I’m reconciled and accepting of that time in my life now.

Nowadays I am 100% about the individual connection I make for every postcard I send or receive. I take time to choose the card and to write a very personalised message (both on the postcards I send and the hurray messages I write when I register the cards. My hurray messages are getting ridiculously long). For me now, it is more about the individuals I meet more than the metrics. I am much happier this way. If I’m in the mood to send, I will. If I’m not, I won’t, and I will let it rest, because resting in Postcrossing isn’t equivalent to languishing for me anymore.

I am not saying there’s anything wrong with how other people choose to pursue Postcrossing either, so there isn’t some sort of subtext here in my message. There are many ways to enjoy Postcrossing without one way being morally superior to another. And one approach is not mutually exclusive to other approaches (for example, one can be passionate about pursuing metrics and also passionate about making individual connections). My point here is that for me personally, it took me a long time (I’m talking like a decade or more) to find what works for me, and even that isn’t something I’m expecting will stay static. I might go back to enjoying pursuing metrics, who knows? And I won’t say I don’t get a kick out of getting a “rare” country card or address even now. But for me personally, I won’t ever let whatever approach I choose at the time get heavy like I let it get before. And I certainly won’t judge how others approach Postcrossing. To each their own.

So with that, I want to welcome you again to Postcrossing and wish you the fullest of mailboxes and I hope that you find what works for you when it comes to this most marvellous of projects! I’m so glad you’re here! :slight_smile:

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I actually did this after one or two cards, thanks to my mom who started this hobby before me!

But my biggest advice is: Take picture of the text side of your card! (That you wrote)

It’s nice to look back what you wrote, what stamps you used etc. And often when the receipent comments something about the card, you can check what you wrote if you don’t remember!

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I wish I had been slightly less enthusiastic about acquiring stamps and postcards. I went from one small box of postcards and one sheet of stamps to … well, I have a postcard room in my house now.

I really love finding exactly the right postcard and stamps for a person’s profile, but it takes so long to dig through everything. And the hobby is about connecting, really, so the emphasis is on the message, not the card and stamp.

But hey, if anyone requests a pink metal postcard with a picture of the Singapore Supertrees on it, and a spider and latte stamp, boom! I got ‘em covered. :smiley:

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Welcome to this addictive hobby!

In my case, when I discovered the forum and saw I could actually choose what to receive by doing direct swaps, I was very excited. But looking back, in general I find it more exciting to be surprised instead of knowing exactly what I’ll receive. So i regret being too specific with my wishes, because now I wonder if I missed an opportunity to receive something super interesting just because I was too picky.

But that’s just me. In time, you alone will find out what you like and what makes you happy.

As for advice, I’d say: First, if you receive something you don’t like, just register it and move on (unless it doesn’t comply with PC/Forum rules that is). Second, take your time to write the cards you send, don’t rush it just because you want to receive many cards. Sending is as much fun as receiving, if not more. Have fun with it! :blossom:

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I accidentally took an 8 year break, and that’s probably my biggest regret- so my advice is not to put your account on break even if you don’t plan on being able to send cards for a while. Hopefully that will keep you from accidentally neglecting this amazing experience for years on end… :sweat_smile:

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@xxxxyyyyzzzz @KonradKuchen @Schohema @NatM @Regndroppar @nisnoopy3 @Queensnake @jaenelle @scrutiny @itamerentytar @aerobear @Conelmate @thrakaboom

Thanks so much for taking time to respond! These are all great advices and beautiful to just imagine your early days of postcrossing :heart_eyes:

So far I haven’t received any postcard from the main site, but I’ve only been swapping with people for a friend’s birthday. People have been SO helpful, but I’m looking forward to receiving my first postcard from the main site. I’m confident (at least for now), that I won’t have any negative experience because I’m not picky about what cards I want, but find more value in the message they write.

I have sent about 35 postcards, and it took me a lot of time (20-30 minutes per card) because I was decorating it with sand. I want to shift my focus towards writing a more meaningful message based on their profile.

And yeah, having a good collection of cards has helped me to decide quickly in choosing a card to write. I have National Parks, Animals, Women of Science, Animalium by Katie Scott, but I want to keep adding more :sweat_smile:

Vinny

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About: how many cards do I want to send?
It’s really very different how many cards postcrossers send. Some send just one or two in a month, some send 100 (if they are allowed to). So may be it could be useful to think about what could be the right modus for you.

For me, I decided from the beginning, that I would set a limit. I send one card every other day, which means 15 cards per month.

This amount is perfect for me. Because:

  • I can afford - and agree spending the amount of money I monthly need for cards and stamps.
  • I send and receive cards quite regularly, quite often there are one or two cards in my letter box.
  • Otherwise it’s not too much: each sent and received card stays special to me, I still enjoy and appreciate every single card, they don’t get lost in the crowd.

But this is very individual. I think each postcrosser must find out his or her fitting interval and quantity of sending and receiving cards. It also may change from time to time.

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For me my way of dealing with Postcrossing has been quite right so far. I always mainly sticked to the official Postcrossing (= pulling addresses on the main site) and never did much forum stuff like swaps. The first time was quite tough, for I pulled many Russian addresses and the cards to Russia took much longer back then, but that trained my patience. And now after 8 years and sending 5475 cards I could fill all the 100 slots that one can get (you get the 100th slot with 4550 cards sent) I never face a shortage of slots. It would be stressful to keep all the slots busy, so I have usually 20 to 30 cards travelling.
My hint for you: Try to stay patient, your cards travel and eventually they will probably reacht their aim.
And yes, there are some super annoying picky profiles that are really hard to please, but I have faced maybe 10 or 20 of that kind. The word “wishlist” does not mean “orderlist”, so you are not oblieged to fulfil such picky wishes. And most of those picky users will comply with the rules and at least register your card also if it does not meet their wishes.
Welcome to Postcrossing!

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Dont go crazy and buy too many cards. They pile up and take forever to get out the door

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Can we put the first post by @xxxxyyyyzzzz on top of the FAQs or something?:crazy_face: It’s perfect!

My only regret would be not discovering postcrossing sooner!:joy:

And getting a bit too worked up about the wishlist with my first few cards, then having a talk with myself and remembering that this is for fun!

I don’t particularly have the philosophy of “finding the perfect card”. I enjoy sending cards. So I send something nice and write a long message and that’s it. Never had a complaint, at least not to my face :joy:

I never really cared about stats, I literally just send when I’m in the mood. In the early days I tried to keep it low because of cost, now I’m somewhere much cheaper so I sometimes go wild. Which is still only 3-4 a week, plus non-officials, maybe a similar amount. I don’t like swaps very much, but I like to have regular penpals/postcard pals.

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First of all, congratulations for joining the community! I wonder how you know Postcrossing.
My advise; enjoy every card, Postcrossing should always be a joy.
Personally, I take about forty minutes to choose the right card, the right stamp if possible, a draft with a dozen sentences, and when the recipient’s language is written in the Latin alphabet, I sometimes translate with the help of DeepL (it translates very well). But the most important thing is not to have any regrets!
Once, I chose a card that I really cared about, because it was an old card belonging to my mother, it represented a Parisian restaurant, in short, I was really attached to it. And then when the person received it, his Hurray message was very short (“Thank you for the introduction of your town”), and I have to admit that it frustrated me, I thought that maybe I hadn’t managed to make him really happy. Also, sometimes I make guesses, and once the person receiving it doesn’t mention it, which makes me feel like she did not really read it. But maybe she was in a rush, she has her own reasons…
So really, you shouldn’t have any regrets, the important thing is to put your heart into your card, if the recipient feels it, great, if not, too bad, you tried…
Happy Postcrossing!
:heart:

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