Postcard Fetish, NSA’s Data Mining, and Privacy Issue

No one seems to understand my fondness of postcards. Of all people I gave postcards today, none responded so wildly that I was certain s/he likes it as much as I do. Their faces spoke to me as if they prefer other mementos like dolls, fans, snacks, t-shirts, and anything they can grab, chew, or play with. Postcards are simply not in the wish list.

Yet postcards are reminders of the past, which is now growing rare and rare day by day. Cheap, super fast short message and free email services take over the snail mail including postcards. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Path make postcards a lot more outdated by now.

And look what NSA has done to all our virtual data exchanged so frequently on the web. By “web”, I refer to American internet corporations and digital startups like those social media sites we have signed up at.

Still I love postcards, partly because it’s cheaper than letters. It is like a tweet in its era. Messages are kept short, effective, succinct. No room for unnecessary details. Being too wordy is not an option.

My love for postcards is also partly because of the better level of ‘privacy’. You may ask me why I perceive that way. Though mailed without envelopes, postcards (unlike personal and business letters) cannot be treated and filtered like virtual data. The information in postcards is so general and public anyone can safely read it without feeling guilty after reading other people’s personal lives. This is way different from information exchanged by emails, direct messages on online social networks, instant messengers, and so forth. Will postal employees bother reading them all and even making a copy? I suppose they will not. They do not even care. They have got too much work to handle only to pause for a minute, perusing others’ personal stories.

In this digital age, the conventional written physical forms of communication would never fade away that easily. In fact, I speculate, they are missed. It is a privilige to be able to communicate in such a way.

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