Selfie consigns postcard to history

Grant WoodhamsGeraldton Guardian
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In the era of the mobile phone and the international phenomena known as the ‘selfie’, I have great fears for my old friend the postcard.

I have always been fond of sharing my travelling joys with friends of all descriptions and found the easiest way to do this was to grab a handful of postcards and pen a few illegible words.

“Wish you were here!”

Recently, I must confess I have struggled with writing postcards, but let me explain.

The capacity to send a text message from anywhere in the world where there is mobile or internet reception is a real winner.

It is easy, quick and convenient. No need to find stamps, mailboxes and remember addresses.

And I must admit, my experience is that it is now harder to find postcards. Usually the domain of newsagents or similar, the postcard display in many places is non-existent.

And while I am not inclined to take a photo of the latest calorie-busting hamburger I am eating, I will admit to sending a few well chosen mobile snaps of local scenes — an electronic postcard if you will.

The postcard has a long history, going back to the nineteenth century. More often than not the postcard featured a photo, with the reverse side saved for address and message. Some postcards though have really been works of art. True collectors of postcards will tell you some are worth thousands of dollars.

The first postcard sent more than 170 years ago is now worth an estimated $70,000.

Remarkably, there is even a magazine for collectors of postcards.

Postcards, too, had a way of capturing culture and humour the poor deprived electronic mobile phone snap can never imitate.

Anyone who has ever received a daring double meaning British seaside postcard will remember them for the rest of their life.

Somehow, though, I doubt the first text message or ‘selfie’ has been collected or continues to exist.

The all-conquering mobile phone and the Kingdom of Selfies may be ensuring the death of the postcard as we know it.

Sadly, it appears it will leave no legacy greater than a bigger bank balance for the Apples, Samsungs, LTCs and Nokias of this world.

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