Think about it, the USPS actually owns and operates a 200+ years old walled garden all along with major monopoly, annual subsidies, and consistent political benefits. This walled garden has its root originated way back since 200+ years ago, and has worked its purposes on the daily basis, although with signs of lagging behind the most recent paradigm changes as witnessed in other major service industries of the 21st century digital society.
The USPS walled garden is built on top of the vast space of postal delivery addresses, including the street addresses, routes, and post office boxes. These postal delivery addresses are mostly associated with given individuals, and the “person + postal address” association often becomes an individual’s identity which is used in various real-life applications. It is these specific postal delivery addresses that form the basis of the USPS service, and in turn allow USPS operate as a walled garden service.
Physical Tied-In And Tie-Down To The USPS Walled Garden
An individual residing within the USPS walled garden context has to keep up a consistent usage of his/her postal delivery address, e.g. a home address or a business P.O. box. You can, but generally don’t want to, maintain multiple postal delivery addresses, as you would have to pick up the mails from multiple locations.
Within the USPS walled garden, you are identified with your name and your postal delivery address. This is your identity tied in to the USPS walled garden, and this is the identity often used outside the USPS walled garden scope as well, e.g. your driver license registration, your IRS filing, your credit card sign-up, and etc. In many instances, part of the proof of a person’s residency is the showing of postal mail envelop surh as of public utility bill. You are at where the USPS saye where you are, and you are who the USPS says who you are.
As this “name + postal address” associated identity gets deployed repeatedly throughout your life span, and the concern of this identity privacy and security becomes escalated accordingly over time. As such, any attempt to have the postal recipients add additional personal information to this identity will certainly encounter substantial resistance.
The best form of digital mailbox the USPS can provide then will be at most a one-to-one conversion of a recipient’s postal address to a digital mailbox, tied-down to a specific postal recipient, i.e. one identity. There will be hardly nor easily any further “enrichment” on this digital mailbox, to its associated identity. The root cause of “blanket bombing” postal junk mail will stay as is, although the dispatch speed and volume of the digital junk mail (essentially like spam e-mails) gets greatly enhanced, and more recipients get annoyed more often.
Digital Dimension Outside The USPS Walled Garden
When the items that you are to send/receive to/from the others are not in the physical form, when these are the in the digital form, elements such as text, picture, audio, video, or interactive digital constructs, the USPS walled garden’s physical tie-in becomes an illogical bondage. That has led to the origin of the nowadays ubiquitous e-mails.
E-mail has been and still is the most popular way for individual-to-individual basic digital communication since the very early stage of the Internet era. With e-mails the interactions are digitally based instead of physically, so the sender and the receiver are NOT tied-down to a physical location as in postal delivery. Rather the e-mail users are only tied-up with their given e-mail “address”, which is designated in order to find the address owner on Internet.
And as such the e-mail users break away from the USPS walled garden tied-in and tied-down. The digital world of e-mails literally forms a new dimension of interpersonal communication outside the postal service walled garden. Along with the new dimension comes unprecedented communication freedom, flexibility, and scalability.
The Challenge Of Physical Junk And Digital Spam
The freedom and flexibility of the e-mail dimension has its side effects though, specifically the e-mail spamming phenomenon. E-mail spamming occurs because, similar to junk mails, the sender does not have sufficient information for targeting the recipients accurately, hence has to resort to the “blanket bombing” tactics, sending the very same e-mail to all recipients on a certain mailing list indiscriminately.
If you place both the junk mail and the spam e-mail side by side, you’d start to realize that as these two phenomenon had taken place in two different dimensions – physical and digital – yet they had originated from the very same cause, namely the sender’s lack of means to accurately target the mail/e-mail recipients.
The question then is, can we, and/or can USPS, address this specific cause and fix the problem?