You might think twice about sending out a tweet next time you want to brag about your lunch, especially if it meant hand writing that tweet to every single one of your followers.
But that’s what one UK man did – he wrote out his tweets and sent them by mail rather than actually using Twitter itself.
As Giles Turnbull admits, the whole idea of “Twitter-by-post” as it’s called, just popped into his head randomly. He wondered what it would be like to send and receive tweets through the mail… and rather than scoffing at the thought, he made it a reality.
Calling on 15 fellow creatives from the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand, he hatched a plan to replicate Twitter through the mail.
He started by gathering everyone’s mailing address into one document, hoarding a “job lot of stamps” and purchasing plenty of postcards.
Then he had to come up with exactly how this was going to work. There were 15 people involved, so when sending a public tweet, would that mean writing it out 15 times and mailing it to 15 different addresses? Yes, it would. And although DMs and @replies were easier, because they were just sent to one person, it would mean a lot of writing and a lot of cramped hands.
And so it began. “Tweets” were sent from one city to another, traveling at the speed not of the internet’s real-time communication, but of the postal service’s trucks and airplanes.
Turnbull’s description of how it felt when the experiment is underway is brilliant:
“For the weeks that followed, my front door was my timeline. The sound of the postman (or postwoman, in my case) pushing cards through the letterbox became the equivalent of the little “DING” your Twitter client makes when you have new messages. Like Pavlov’s dog, I began to associate the sound of the postwoman’s approach with the arrival of new, unusually personal messages. I’d get jumpy with excitement, and rush out to the hall the moment they’d been delivered.”
You can take a look at some of the postcards that Turnbull sent and received during his month-long experiment below. There is something quite beautiful and whimsical about receiving tweets in the mail, and if you want to see more pictures (there’s lots!) of the tweeted postcards, check out Turnbull’s article here.