Postcards: Reviving the fading trend

October 06, 2017
Dona Paranayil

Saudi Gazette

As World Post Day arrives on October 9, let us look back at postcards that have now become obsolete and somewhat forgotten as a form of communication. How many of us still send postcards? Not many, for sure.

The trend is not completely lost in Saudi Arabia but the fact is that it’s fading. With the evolution of digital age, traditional forms of media are losing their impact on society. A few years ago, postcards were available at any stationery store across the Kingdom. However, they are now available in limited numbers at postal services, hotels and airports.

Some tourists from the West and Far East who visit Saudi Arabia search for traditional postcards, as the trend of sending one hasn’t been lost in their countries either.

In fact, the trend tends to be a tradition they wish to continue. It is important for some to send a postcard when they are away from home. Tourists usually send postcards to family or friends with short messages to let them know that they were there at that particular location, to savor good times and also as a means to recommend some of the best places they think would be enjoyable for the others.

For these tourists, we have good news. Jarir Bookstore sells books of Saudi postcards and each book contains nearly 20 postcards.

Postcards became popular in the 1900s. In recent times, vintage, traditional and self-made postcards are commonly found. Some postcards are banned in certain countries due to inappropriate imagery that contradicts their cultural values.

These days, the common trend is to collect postcards via Postcrossing, a project that allows people to send and receive postcards from random locations or by swapping cards with people from different countries via Instagram. Saudis prefer to send emails or text messages rather than waiting for postcards to be sent via post office and arrive at a particular destination. Some people do not want to take risks as they fear their postcard may either get lost or may not arrive on time, while the rest choose digital technology for faster and safer results.

Despite the rise of virtual engagement, it would be interesting to see the trend of communicating with postcards continue and for the fading trend to be brought back to life in Saudi Arabia. This year, let us try to send as many as we can and see if it’s worth it. Wouldn’t grandparents want to receive postcards from their loved ones?

October 06, 2017
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