Snail Mail

Facebook Thinks I’m 12 and I’m OK With That.

Back in late August or early September, Facebook for whatever reason decided that I was 12 years old and no longer eligible for a Facebook account. To resolve this issue Facebook asked me to take a photo of my driver’s license, or passport with my birthday visible and email it to Facebook support. This was never going to happen. Based on previous data breaches that Facebook has experienced in the past, I said “nope” and decided to wait until my birthday in January thinking that Facebook would simply reset the clock and realize I was now 13.

The thinking was my birthday would roll around, Facebook would think I’m a year older and wham bam I’d be back in business. Turns out this was not the case. Instead, Facebook said I had waited too long to reactivate my account or send in proof of my age and my account had been permanently disabled. OK, so I no longer have an account. What are the options? I can contact support and supply a photo of my ID and ask to be reinstated. I can open a new account and rising from the ashes like a phoenix make friend requests and start the Facebook journey again, or I could simply walk away and be done with it. I chose to walk away.

I have now been off of Facebook for more than 6 months, and I couldn’t be happier. While I still have an Instagram account, my posts get deleted after 7 days, so nothing lives longer than a week. Something I’m perfectly fine with. I was never a Twitter user to speak of. Same with LinkedIn. This blog automatically posts to both, but I’m lucky if I get more than a dozen engagements on Twitter, probably because I don’t retweet, comment, lie, share, or anything else on the platform. LinkedIn fairs a bit better with each blog post averaging about 100 views. Once again it could be better, but I don’t spend enough time engaging with others on the platform to extend my audience and reach and I’m OK with that.

At this point, I have absolutely no desire to become a Facebook member again. I have no plans to increase my social media presence on other platforms and have decided to go back to an old-school way of communicating with people. I’ve decided to start writing letters. Actual physical correspondences that I send out in the mail with an envelope and a stamp, that take days to arrive and may never get a response.

I used to be good about writing them. Finding clever and unique ways to craft and send a letter to someone. Once I wrote a letter on the individual cigarettes in a Marlboro pack. Each one was numbered, and each cigarette contained one sentence. There was a note that slipped into the cellophane wrapper telling the recipient to smoke the cigarettes when they were finished reading to destroy the evidence. I hope they did.

There is something about having to slow down and take the time to think about the words you use. The sentence structure. How to embellish with illustrations, photographs, or design work that once again I’m finding quite appealing. Maybe it’s an outcome of a year-long pandemic and the isolation that so many of us have experienced. Either way, I’ve been slowly receding from social media for some time starting a few years back. Here’s to something slower and hopefully more engaging for whoever receives a letter from me.

If I have your address, consider yourself warned.

Tearable, Tearable, Envelopes.

I never write physical paper letters anymore. Like most of us, the convenience of email, texts, and social media have eroded my use of paper, envelopes and stamps. I always tell myself I should write people more often, but never do. Maybe these envelopes from D-Bros will change that.

This cleverly designed set of three envelopes feature a car, plane, and train. When opened, the tear relates the exhaust from each. It’s a fun design feature with a bit of child like whimsy that ads to the snail mail experience.

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My Company Missed the Boat.

I’m going to break some of my own blog rules. I am going to rant a bit about work. I’m going to do some minor self-promotion of my own design ideas, and I am going to say the company I work for missed the boat. (I’m not going to mention them by name)

I work for a company that makes the majority of its profit from ink on paper printed materials. Like most industries that use physical mail services, the art of actually writing with a pen or pencil, envelopes, stamps, etc. they have felt the impact of email, digital connectivity, and the shift to a more paperless society.

This item has been popping up around the internet for about 3 days. Pretty much every design blog and site has piggybacked off each other’s posts for a number of reasons, the primary one being that this is a really solid piece of design work. Clever, and unique, drawing old-world forms of communication, and new technologies together.

It’s relevant to me, because over a year ago I proposed a similar idea, centered not around Google, but around Twitter, and it was dismissed as impractical and having no relevance for our target audience. So I am a little torn here. Do I post about something that I feel would have been a smart move on my companies behalf, or do I just post this item and say, “Hey look, this concept is going viral on the web, and we could have had something just as cool in the market place 6 months ago.”

I’ll stick with the latter. While my wisecrack about what we could have done might get me in hot water at the office, posting visuals of my concept definitely would. None the less Google Envelopes is an awesome idea.

Designed by Rahul Mahtani & Yofred Moik from the Industrial Design program at Syracuse University, Google Envelopes allow someone to map the course the mail will travel, and help tell an extended story. All of this is linked back to Gmail itself tying snail mail and email directly together. This is just a concept, but a powerful one that people can immediately understand. I hope Google is smart enough to actually produce this because I really think it has serious possibilities.

Now if anyone from my office actually reads this post and is interested in seeing the concept and mock-ups that I finished over a year ago, shoot me an email. I’ll send you the PDF file.  And another thought, if these kids have graduated, we should hire them. They’re smart and talented.