Phones connect with Post Office using local app

Posted at 5:41 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 18:49:24-04
Instead of writing letters we often stay in touch with family and friends through email, text or social media.
An Omaha man created a way for snail mail to connect with the digital age.
With hundreds of billions of letters mailed each year worldwide, Timothy Campbell says he's surprised there wasn't already an app that translates letter writing from smartphones to the Post Office. 
“We've been called the Uber for mail,” Campbell said. “What Uber did for ride-sharing and ride services, basically an old existing process and they added an element of technology and convenience to it."
The Spletter app allows people to text or speak a letter into their phone, attach pictures and instantly have them printed and mailed the same-day from the Post Office.
Many of the app's 46,000 downloads are used by people in tight situations, Campbell said.
"This is the only communication for say, someone who has a loved one incarcerated,” Campbell said.  “This is the only way of communicating with them. They use it over and over and over again. It's extremely important to them." 
Print and mail shop owner Jeff Burke enjoys using Spletter. 
"In the digital age, instant gratification is the neat thing,” Burke said. “It's like, you shot that photo and you can instantly generate a letter and get it on its way in a matter of minutes." 
Instant gratification is the reason software developer John Elkins says he doesn't like the app. 
Elkins says hand written letters mean much more than a Spletter.  
"It’s easy to spend money here and there to get something out,” Elkins said. “For somebody to actually take the time, stop and go, 'hey, you know, let me do this, it's important.' It means more.” 
Morgan Farr says she wishes she would have known about Spletter when her husband was deployed overseas in the military.
"We’re not always able to keep him as involved as we'd like him to be,” Farr said. “Having an opportunity like the Spletter app, to be able to send him instant pictures and letters that he can stay as involved as possible, that's a great idea." 
Campbell says he has so many customers in other countries that use Spletter to communicate with their loved ones in the U.S., he foresees opening printing and mail services in countries like Mexico.