App Review: TouchNote: Bringing Snail Mail to the Digital Masses
I admit I am not the best at the keeping in touch outside the confines of the internet. I share, I like, I gram, I message, but I have never been good at sending letters “just because”. I have a full-time job and am a mom of two little kids. I’m busy. You’re busy. We’re ALL busy. Everyone is online anyway, so that’s good enough.
That theory was blown to pieces when my grandfather permanently moved to Florida and traveling north was too much for him anymore. My kids were babies and I wanted him to see them grow and become little people. He wasn’t on the internet and I knew myself. I knew if I was going to rely on myself to order prints, write a letter, buy stamps and mail it at the post office, he was NEVER going to see my kids except on the yearly Christmas card. How would I find the motivation to keep in touch but still cater to my digital lifestyle? Then I stumbled upon TouchNote. I don’t remember how I found it, but it was an answer to my prayers.
TouchNote is an app that lets you to turn pictures into postcards and greetings cards all on your phone. It offers a variety of templates for the front of the card where you not only upload your picture(s), but you can also write a brief message (ie, Thinking of You, Happy Spring, etc.). Once the front is to your liking, it flips the card/opens it so you can type in your message. After your message is done, the app can either access your phone’s contact list and you select the recipient(s) or you can manually input the information directly into the app. Finally, it sends whomever you choose a physical card. That’s it! Everything is done on your phone.
I have not only used this to keep in touch with my grandfather, but it has now become my main form of physical correspondence. Whenever my kids get presents, I take a picture of them playing with the gifts and send a personalized thank you note to whomever gave the present. I no longer shop for Mother’s Day cards. All the special ladies in my life get an actual picture of my kids sent to them with a special message included. Christmas cards are done IN MINUTES and I don’t have hand cramps to show for it. It’s been a true time saver.
As with anything, there are pros and cons.
It doesn’t offer much variety in the card layouts. I’ll admit it, they are very basic. In my mind though, the money shot is the picture I’m uploading and not all the stickers and pieces of flare that someone may want. HOWEVER, if you do want a card with more bling, create the image in another app (PicCollage, Photoshop, Layout, etc.) and use THAT image for your card front. I’ve done it… it works.
To make the process completely streamlined, there is a bit of set-up required if like me, you don’t have your desired recipients’ addresses in your phone. It took a while, but it was something I should have done sooner anyway. If you have your addresses digitally stored somewhere, there may be ways to import them into your phone’s contacts so it’s worth a Google. Also, slight edits to the contacts are probably necessary before a card goes out. Again, this is just for the initial set-up. Once a contact is selected, that person’s name is listed, but if you want the card addressed to more than one person in that household, you will have to edit the names in the app. For example, Bob Smith and Sue Smith have two different contacts in your phone. You would select Bob’s contact and when it is brought into the app’s contacts, you would change “Bob Smith” to “Bob and Sue Smith”. Again, this is a one-time edit as the app stores previous recipients’ information. This does not change the information in your phone’s contacts, only the app’s contacts.
Once the set-up is done, sending a card takes a minute or two at most. You can even send the same card to several people without having to recreate it. I have sent my Christmas cards via TouchNote for the past two or three years. It takes me more time to choose a picture than it does to send cards to my entire list.
Their Customer Service is top notch. I have only had one of my cards go astray. I contacted them and they immediately resent the card.
You use purchased credits to send out the cards so there is no need to enter your payment information every time you want to buy a card. The more credits you buy at once, the less expensive it is per card. The pack quantities range from a 5-credit pack ($1.99 per credit) to 100 credits ($1.50 per credit). It costs one credit to send a postcard and 2 credits for a greeting card. If it seems pricey, just factor in how much a greeting card costs, plus a stamp, plus the time and energy to address the card and get it to the post office. TouchNote offers customization and convenience and I think it is worth every penny.
Being able to use a spare minute or two wherever I am to send a personal correspondence to someone I love is really what I find most appealing about this app. My grandfather passed away last fall. He had only seen the kids in person when they were both still babies, but he still got to see them grow into the little fun, crazy, goofy kids they are because of the convenience I found in using this app. I think that is priceless.
Mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and Philly suburb native.