Do you hate going to your letterbox in the morning? Are you fed up with just receiving bills and adverts in the post? Has your facebook inbox become infinitely more interesting than your REAL inbox? Then you need this guide to getting started in REAL mail!
After closing my facebook account in February and trying to get my friends to revert to sending me REAL post for my REAL wall instead, it quickly became clear that not everyone is quite as enamoured with post as I am. Still desperate to receive some more interesting stuff in the mail, I decided that if my REAL friends weren't interested in sending me post then it must have been time to get a new set of friends!
The first step to take if you want to start receiving mail straight away, is the magnificent www.postcrossing.com. the idea of this site is very simple. When you sign up you have to send a postcard to a random member of the site with a reference number on it. When the receiver receives it, they will register the card on the site and you will get a nice message online from them and be in line to be the next recipient of a random card from somewhere else in the world. Beware this site is extremely addictive!
The next site you need to sign up for to make your mailbox sparkle a little is www.sendsomething.net. The site is very basic, but does a very simple task pretty well. You just register your name and address and what you are interested in, and then hit the Random Address button, and a profile will pop up with an address that you can send stuff to. This is a little like the Royal Mail Premium Bonds, in that you're not guaranteed to get anything most the time, but occasionally something will drop through the post and it really brightens up your day.
Remember that when you sign up for post sites like this it's good form to reply to messages and to send post. Keep the spirit alive by sending as well as receiving.
For more challenging mail try www.swap-bot.com. on this site, members arrange to swap all sorts of postal objects, from simple postcards to knitting, and photos and all manner of crafts.
Swap organisers arrange swaps with a certain number of people in, then assign partners and a deadline date that objects must be sent by. When items are received, members then rate each other and the swap coordinator and everyone recieves an item for every one sent. This is well worth checking out if you have some cool craft that you are in to, as you'll find people swapping all sorts of things and you'll discover there are some seriously talented people out there!
If you are artistic, try the mailart networks. The leading mailart site out there is www.iuoma-network.ning.com, which stands for International Union of Mailartists and is home to most of the worlds most creative mail geniuses. Go on there, make friends and start sending your art around the world. They say in mailart that senders receive, so the more mailart you put out the more you will get back and you find that after a while you can get a reputation if you are active.
To encourage more mailart, send out a mailart call, either on IUOMA or one of the numerous mailart websites like www.mail-art.de and post it on your own blog. Some examples of my own mailart calls can be seen on this blog and they were also put up on the previous 2 sites.
These are the main sites I use, as well as frequenting loads of blogs myself of mailartists and finding swap partners on twitter and flickr. There are networks out there of people swapping everything you can imagine, from knitting to chocolate, so with a little effort, google and some stamps you can change your postbox into something you really want to see in the mornings.