What kind of blogger would I be if every so often I didn’t look and see what else, if anything, is being said about this pen palling hobby of mine? I found a few posts worthy of the like button, but the one that really stood out for me was The Snail Mail Collective— too bad it disbanded in December of 2013. Generally I love the idea of them matching bloggers– people who don’t necessarily pen pal– up with each other to have them send a package of goodies along with a letter. There are a few things I would have changed to make it better though, since how it was set up is not something I’d sign up for if it were still up and running.
First and foremost, I’d make the “different countries” part optional. You may only be spending $7 on the gift, but in my experience, shipping anything bigger than a letter internationally has cost me double that gift amount. While I have no issues writing to someone from another country, requiring me send a package is reason enough to make me decline. I passed on a lot of swaps in the LEP because of the risk of $14+ postage.
The other thing I believe should be offered is the option to choose the age range and gender of your partner. I’m not going to go too crazy and say I want to only be paired up with a fellow 27-year-old woman, but the thought of potentially exchanging with a man in his 40s or 50s makes me uncomfortable.
The gender option could look like this:
I’d like to be partnered with a
- No Preference
And the age option could look like:
I’d prefer to be matched with someone
- Under 30
- No Preference
I know this would have potentially added to the Snail Mail Collective’s workload, but I think it would have been beneficial in the long run. You want to know that your participants aren’t going to feel as though they’re in an awkward situation.
If the SMC was still active, my last piece of advice would have been to offer a longer sign-up period as I think the “impulse buy” would have been their friend. Hypothetically if I would have found this in December instead of several days ago (the same day, just different month), I would have just missed the cut-off, and I’m 100% confident that if I didn’t think “my collected thoughts” had blog potential I would have closed the window and forgotten all about it. Yes, I saw that you can request a reminder email, but giving me time to mull over something will lower the likelihood of me participating. If I could have signed up right then and there I probably would have, vowing to keep it small and only doing it the one time.
I posted the following hypothetical question in my Facebook group on Friday:
If there was a blogger who made it his/her mission to connect other bloggers together through snail mail– the catch being it could be anyone of any age from anywhere and you had to send them a package as well as a letter– would you think it was the best idea ever, or would you wish that you could opt for someone around your age who lived in the same country as you to avoid crazy shipping costs?
Should you be reading this post of mine, you’re more than welcome to answer that as well– here are what some of my pen pals had to say:
“I’d wish I was a better blogger!”
“I’d be okay with any age, but I would want them to be in the same country…international shipping is crazy expensive.”
“It would depend on if they were from the states. They’re age wouldn’t make a difference to me and it’d definitely have to be another female.”
As for what my mother said…
“I can see why it didn’t survive though. The issues you point out are big.”
I’d be lying if I said there’s not a part of me that’s thinking about creating a Sincerely Kate version of this, but the other part knows that I don’t have a large following like The Nectar Collective. The likelihood of me being able to match up those who would be interested with someone, at least anyone outside of the US, is slim to none. Feel free to comment whether you think it’d be worthwhile or not, but in the meantime I’ll stick to organizing a Christmas in July Secret Santa or me and my pen pals.
Sincerely, Kate ~!~