Our digital lives are so ephemeral. We post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. We shoot emails. We ping on SMS. We Recommend on Linkedin. But it’s all so… what’s the word? Digital. Dare I say, empty?
Emailing someone a photo from your kick-ass tobogganing trip to the mountains is nice. But isn’t that sort of like sending eCards for birthdays? What effort did it take to email a photo? None.
With everything moving so quickly, finding the time to actually sit and write out a postcard or any sort of physical note is nearly impossible. You might as well be trying to eradicate doping from sports. However, where the spirit is willing… Of course you want to send postcards out to family and friends when you travel. You want to be better at writing thank you notes to customers and colleagues. Nothing says I’m thinking about you, or grateful for you better than manifesting that appreciation in something physical, unique and took more than 12.2 seconds to create.
Enter Touchnote, the simple iPhone application I use to send physical postcards to my friends and family.
You know how it goes. You’re on a trip. You go to one of those tourist stores and buy up a bunch of post cards. Having fun in Idaho. Wish you were here. Drinking all afternoon with the members of a thrashing death metal band in Kiev. Wish I could remember which metro takes me home. Anyway. The operation of buying, writing, stamping and sending postcards has just about enough friction in it to make the sending of said cards arbitrary at best.
Touchnote solves that problem. Using photos that you take, you can prep and send a postcard right from your iPhone (smartphone too). It’s so simple. This has become a nice pastime for me, which has residual impact on the photos I look to take. “Ah! That photo of us sneaking a midnight dip in the Dnieper river would make for a nice postcard.” Snap!
The notion of sending postcards this way became real for me when I got back to Scottsdale after being overseas for 3 months. My BFF had all of the postcards I had sent her, slid into the inside door of a cabinet in her bathroom. When I saw this I was like, holy shit! That’s cool! I took them all out, put them on the counter and took a photo. That’s the photo I used for this post. Sorry honey, did you want me to put those back?
Key points: the postcards are of excellent quality. There is a nice white border around the photo. The finish is high gloss, like a aqueous coating (for you pressmen out there). Preparing the card is so easy you can do it while riding in a car. Open the app. Select a photo. Place the photo. Size and rotate it. Flip the card over and type out a message. Then, and here’s where this app totally brings it home for me, tap to add recipients. When you do this, the application pulls recipients from your Contacts. Then it also remembers to whom you’ve sent your cards. That way, when you go back in, to send another card, you can just tap next to the names you want to use. Bingo, bango, bongo…you’ve just stamped and mailed out a unique postcard to your world. (works best on Wifi).
So how does payment work? You pre-pay and buy credits. This I like. Obviously I don’t want to have to go through the pain of paying each time I want to send you a card. So I load up on credits ,and then burn them down as I travel through my travels. Pay with credit card. Or pay with PayPal, which I like. NOTE: the PayPal link is easy to miss. But it’s there…so dig for it if you don’t want to bust out the Amex.
I know that Touchnote is not the only postcard application out there. In fact I first downloaded Postagram. But, well, I got confused by how they said that they prepared the postcards. There was something about a perfed card so that your recipient can pop your art out and frame it. This sounded like too much work to me. So I hopped over to Touchnote. It worked as advertised. I’ve been juicing my relationships ever since.