A few weeks ago, I was thinking about the efforts to archive various Internet communication. With this and postcards in mind, I remembered a trend in the late 1990s of e-Postcards. They are like print postcards but in digital format - instead of people visiting a physical destination and mailing back a print card with a visual and textual message, visitors to websites would be given online forms to fill out to send an email to someone with a digital image and brief message.
e-Postcards are rare today, but many websites (from retailers, multinational corporations, tourist sites, cultural centres, etc.) used to offer the ability to send them.
A similar form, e-Cards, has persisted longer through such websites such as Blue Mountain and card companies such as Hallmark; although they are also dying out. e-Postcards differ from e-Cards in that they are thematically focused on a destination (in this case websites) rather than focused on special occasions, they tend to arrive straight in one's email box rather than being emailed a link to click through to see the card, and are not interactive, animated, or multimedia.
I used to get and send e-Postcards occasionally up until the past decade. As with most people, I never thought to save these e-Postcards (unlike my constant dedicated preservation of print postcards). Much of our digital heritage will just pass us by and never be saved. Admirable organizations such as the Internet Archive can only do so much. If we want our digital records to survive for future generations, as the print postcards I display here have, then it's up to us.
So I sought out websites still offering e-Postcards. Despite extensive searching, I couldn't find many websites offering them. I did, however, find a few - and a surprising variety. Here are my favourites, now preserved for posterity:
|from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Loki, from a poster e-tailer|
|from New York's Museum of Modern Art|
|Self-made e-Postcard from Toronto Public Library|
|from Mount Washington Resort, New Hampshire|
|from the World Wildlife Fund|