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Many people prefer to receive paper letters, gaining the satisfaction of seeing their name carefully printed on a thick envelope in the letterbox.
Using postal mail, it is possible to trade coupons, swap slips, postcards, stamps and anything else light and flat enough to fit inside an envelope, often called "tuck-ins".
At the 1964/1965 World's Fair in New York, the Parker Pen pavilion provided a computer pen pal matching service.
This service was officially terminated by Parker Pen in 1967.
This has the advantage of saving money and being more immediate, allowing many messages to be exchanged in a short period of time.
The disadvantage is that the communication can be very ephemeral if the email messages are not routinely saved.
Pals may seek new penfriends based on their own age group, a specific occupation, hobby, or select someone totally different from them to gain knowledge about the world around them.