Inside the Postcardist

Sometimes You Gotta Say WTF

Do you remember this scene from Risky Business? Back before Tom Cruise was Maverick in Top Gun. Or Tom Cruise the Creepy Scientologist Guy?

Sometimes you gotta say what the fuck. Take your chance. Kinda like deciding to take a pause from Instagram to get back to a little more authenticity in writing postcards. To really work on real connections. To chill a little.

So, you might be wondering how I came to this idea. It’s multi-pronged, but let me give you a list:

  1. Massive time suck. Huge. I gasped when I discovered I spent an average of 29 hours per week on Instagram. I have lots of things to do, but that IG alert going off is a drug.
  2. Content delivered to fewer and fewer followers. I have a lot of followers, but on a good day IG showed what I published to fewer than 500 of them.
  3. Feeding the beast is exhausting. Receive cards. Photograph cards. Write captions. Determine timing for posts. Respond to comments. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
  4. Is it about connections or social media recognition? There is good to be had on IG — that’s the connections. But it morphs. And it can rapidly become about likes and exposure.
  5. I don’t own my content on IG. And neither do you. If Instagram decides they don’t like what I post, down it goes. Same if someone angrily “reports” you.
  6. Not enough space to write meaningfully. I like writing captions, but there’s a moment when it’s nice to have a little more breathing space to write. That’s here.
  7. If you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product. Notice all those ads? I mean it was getting to the point where every third post I’d see was an ad. Had to search for friends’ posts.
  8. More creative freedom. I want to do more than post photos of cards I receive. It’s a feed the beast issue. I want to write more about postcards and connections.
  9. More time to work on The Postcardist Podcast. I’ve enjoyed making that show. And I plan to make many more. That takes a lot of time to produce. Now I’ll have more time to do that.
  10. More joy; less stress. Those of you who know me know that I’ve dealt with a pretty serious health issue for three years. I have more to deal with. Lowering stress is good for all of us.

That’s a list. I could write 10 more or 90 more reasons. I think you get the point. I’m not saying I’ll never go back to IG; it’s just a pause. I threw the circuit breaker. I’m not a person who announces something then changes my mind. It’s why I didn’t give a warning before I pushed pause. But I do reserve the right to wander back to Instagram someday with some guardrails in place. I’ll miss out on the interactions with kind people. And I’ll miss seeing some photos. But I’ll be glad to reclaim my time.

Just to show you something I could never show on Instagram without being reported, here’s a postcard I got from my Sugar & Kiki subscription this month. And it’s the words I said when I pushed pause. Kate knows me. And it cracked me up that this was in my mail that day.

If you’re here — thank you. If you’re not, neither of us will be the wiser. Let’s work on getting back to basics. Postcards connect people. Let’s do more of that.

The Postcardist has a New YouTube Channel

I’ve been quietly working on a YouTube channel for The Postcardist, and I’m in pre-production on shows for that format. I’ve been posting some snippets here, but once I get get going I’ll create 15 to 20-minute shows on particular postcard topics. While The Postcardist Podcast sails along with great guests and storytelling, the YouTube channel will be more documentary style with a narrow focus.

Here are some initial topics I’m working on. I’d really love to get some feedback from you on additional topics you’d like to see. You can leave a comment or send me an email at postcardist@gmail.com.

Planned Episodes

  • Episode 1: Shining a light on Hold-to-Light (HTL) Postcards from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis
  • Episode 2: Examining Mutoscope Pinup Postcards Featuring the Art of ZoĆ« Mozert, Gil Elvgren, and Earl Moran
  • Episode 3: Assembling the World’s Largest Collection of Bigfoot and Cryptozoology Postcards
  • Episode 4: Showcasing a Collection of Postal Stationery from the U.S. and Europe
  • Episode 5: Maximizing the Value of Maxicards

So, that’s the first five. Each of these will take some time to produce because of all the shots and editing. Plus, there’s a lot of research that is going into each one. This will be fun. Let me know what you think.

Hawkeye the Postcard Pup

Hawkeye licks his lips in anticipation of a treat

When I finish writing my postcards and other correspondence each morning, I take a photograph of what I’m sending. And when that camera clicks, that’s Hawkeye the Postcard Pup’s cue we’re going to walk to the mailbox. It’s a happy moment for him — he gets to sniff the post on the mailbox, chase a squirrel, and nibble a few acorns before he comes in the house for a treat. My treat comes a few hours later when the mail is delivered. Hawkeye and I both love postcards.

E14: Mini Episode 1

This week’s episode is a look back at the first 13 episodes of Postcardist, including show stats and some thoughts about growing the audience. I also talk about a postcard tacker I created and an idea for a postcard club? Want in? Send an email to postcardist@gmail.com.

Postcard Photography

I’ve tried holding cars outside by hand. I’ve tried photographing on a white sheet of paper. I’ve tried gray backgrounds. Wood backgrounds. But I think this flat back works best. What do you think?