The earliest known picture postcard was posted in London to the writer Theodore Hook in 1840. The hand-coloured card was addressed to “Theodore Hook Esq, Fulham”, a playwright and novelist noted at the time for his “wit and drollery”. It caricatures the postal service by showing post office “scribes” sitting around an enormous inkwell. Hook probably sent it to himself as a practical joke.
“Unlike letter writing, there never has been, and there never could be, an anthology of the best of postcard writing, because when people collect postcards, it’s usually for reasons other than their literary qualities. If there was such a book, I’m sure it would contain hundreds of anonymous masterpieces of this minimalist art, since unlike letters, cards require a verbal concision that can rise to high level of eloquence: brief and heart-breaking glimpses into someone’s existence, in addition to countless amusing and well-told anecdotes. Now and then one encounters in antique shops and used book stores boxes full of old postcards valued for their antiquity, their images and their stamps. The writing found on them most often tends to be in faded ink and hard to read. To anyone with plenty of time on their hands, I recommend reading a bunch of them.”–Charles Simic, The Lost Art of Postcard Writing, New York Review of Books, August 2, 2011
135 million postcards were delivered to British homes in 2006—the most recent figures available—an increase of 30 million over 2003 … The e-mailing and text messaging boom set postcards back, but those same electronic media have created a yearning for tangibility. Postcards are something between a message and a present and, at the same time, the sender is not at the mercy of the instant “reply” button. —“Postcards back from the edge,” Guardian travel blog, July 17, 2008
“Each Tweet is 140 characters in length, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can share a lot with a little space. Connected to each Tweet is a rich details pane that provides additional information, deeper context and embedded media. You can tell your story within your Tweet, or you can think of a Tweet as the headline, and use the details pane to tell the rest with photos, videos and other media content.”–Twitter
This is a great blog series, Gil.
Your “story of information” posts make history relevant to today’s world.
Please keep ’em coming!