The weight of a postcard

22/12/2006

The world’s gone digital. iPods, PDAs, almighty-cellphones, emails, txt, you name it.
People are bombarded with electronic messages from all directions. Some are important, some are just unwanted interruption. The value of an electronic message is quite low, unless it’s something really special. The ability of electronic messages to make impact on us is probably lower that it used to be. I don’t have a proof for this, thou.

Put yourself in these situations

Well-meaning spam

You get an email with a message of peace and love from some religious organisation. What do you do? Probably mark it as junk without opening.
– it is not personal
– you don’t know who sent it
– you get too much spam anyway

You get an email from someone you don’t know with the same message …
There is a great chance your junk mail filter won’t even show it to you. To you it’s still junk even if it was sent by a real person.

Well meaning junk mail

Back to the real world of printed junk mail or whatever you call a leaflet about peace and love put into you letterbox alongside with all the other sales and specials. I hope you recycle. The chance you read it is tiny.

A postcard

I’d think it’s a different story. You get a postcard. It has a stamp. It says something, it was addressed to your home address, but not personally to you. It’s signed by a person you’ve never heard of. It says “Domestic violence is evil. You don’t own your wife or your kids. They have their rights too. ” And so on, and so forth. What am I on about, you may rightfully ask?

I accidentally stumbled across an article called “What women want… is freedom from fear” in a Malaysian publication The Star.

I’ve been to Malaysia and it’s a beautiful country. It’s a very diverse country, a real mix of cultures and races. Not sure it’s as democratic as other countries, but it’s obviously very civilized and women there want to be more and more independent. It can be pricy. Not every looser can stand it. Here comes the violence.

Some women got organized and printed a small run of postcards highlighting the problem. It was a dangerous undertaking for some of them. They had to keep their names secret.

The cards were placed in trendy restaurants and bars as “pick-me cards”. They had some success in drawing attention and the media. Not enough to change anything. It’s expensive and you just can’t print enough without some mighty sponsors.

Now, here is an idea

They need:
– several catchy designs for their cards
– a friendly printer
– a friendly journo
– a friendly web-to-print provider

What they do:
Set up a simple website on the problem. A few pages will do. Place a link to a web-to-print site with the postcards.
Anyone can come to the site, click on the link, personalize the message on the card or maybe upload a photo of the injuries or something, pay a very small fee (cost of printing the card, presumably + postage), nominate a recipient and click SEND.

The card gets printed by the printer and posted. Someone finds it in the letter box a few days later. Consider the impact. Not the same as an email, isn’t it? Even more so if it’s the wife-beater himself.

It may sound crazy, but may well be worth a try. I “know” someone who will provide a web-to-print service for this. A risky move, I’d say. Someone can easily mount a DoS on the service or try to hack it. We’ll see.

Just to finish on a more peaceful and relaxing note … Have a listen. I really enjoyed this clip.

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYGHyBsBWqM”]

Cheers,
Max

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