The postcard is dead — long live selfie

We no longer wish you were here.

The trend has taken its toll on J Salmon, Britain’s oldest postcard publisher, with the announcement that it will cease trading after having been in family hands since it was founded in 1880 – UK postcard sales have dropped from 30 million to just 5 million in the last two decades.


An individual I is less likely to scrawl ‘wish you were here’ on a postcard to any particular You. The collective We and the aggregate You communicate incessantly, of course. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all that. But it’s just not the same.


Where a dear friend liked to receive touristic sights on a postcard they now receive the selfie – a photo of the same but with an obscuring mutt. Additionally, the quietly considered address of the dear friend has been superseded with that of a global platform digital soap box – click, save, post and mass-broadcast.

Yes! 76 likes. That’s 76 people who wish they were here. My life is good.

About turn

It used to be ‘wish you were here’ – now it seems the other way round. A total reversal of intentions, totally self centered – totally selfie.

This island from which I write has gone against the grain – not only has it published its own set of postcards but it now also has its own official stamps. My favourite postcard is a view across the bay taken during a midsummer midnight full moon and has a silverlight quality of stillness and calm.

The card is always well-received and sits on people’s fridges for years when a social media post is forgotten the next day.

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