Saving Memories Forever is a two part system--smartphone app and website--that allows you to record, organize, and share the life stories of your family, yourself, or even your children....or anyone really. It's available as a FREE service for up to two "storytellers", or two people recording their stories. The free service also caps the amount of people who can listen to your stories at 10 listeners, with a max of 5 stories listened to per day.
Here's how it works. Once you download the app, you input information about your first "storyteller". Then you choose from a list of age ranges, and once you do that, you will get a screen like the one below with questions that pertain to life at that age.
Choose a question, and then record the storyteller's answer to that question. When you are finished recording, the app automatically offers to upload the recording to Saving Memories Forever's secure website. The stories are stored there forever, but you can download a copy of them to your own computer with for a fee (with the free app) or for free (with the paid version). After your story is uploaded, if you have the paid version, you can go to the website and upload pictures to go with the storyteller. You can also tag the story with key words to make it easier to find years from now or upload Word documents to go with the storyteller if you have the paid version. It's that simple.
The pros: I'm really into genealogy. Before I had kids, my mom and I would spend hours and hours researching my family history. But then I had kids, and the hours I had spent before on researching my family are now spent on laundry, and cleaning, and schooling. So I love how this simple app allows me to still preserve my family history but without all the work. And even better, you can search the site to see if anyone else has recorded stories about your family, and if they have, you can request that they share them. And while certainly having researched your family history might facilitate you making those connections with others on the site, no research at all is really necessary to record the stories of your current loved ones or even past loved ones via yourself or another family member. This system is SO much better than the taped recordings I have of my great aunt talking about her parents, because they are poor in quality and require a tape player to listen to them. Saving Memories Forever stories can be listened to by anyone, anywhere with a computer.
The cons: I have an iPhone 4, and everything worked fine for me. I have no cons at all.
The bottom line: My uncle is a great storyteller, and keeper of family stories. But he's getting up there in age, and I have thought for years how great it would be to record him telling his own story and the stories of his parents. Now, with Saving Memories Forever, I can not only record them, but I can share them with all the rest of my family members so they have that history, those stories, too. That is priceless. I'm loving Saving Memories Forever! Plus, they have a Saving Memories Forever blog and other resources on their site to give you more ideas of how to use the app or more questions to ask.
The free Saving Memories Forever app is available with from iTunes or on Google Play. The paid version is $3.99 a month or $40 a year. It allows for unlimited storyteller and unlimited listeners, as well as some of the other difference I listed above. Here's a link for a comparison chart of free vs. fee. In the unlikely event that Saving Memories Forever ceases to exist, all accounts will be changed to lifetime accounts with the ability to download your stories for free. I love that they have thought that through and have a plan just in case.
To see what other member of the Mosaic Reviews team had to say, go to the Mosaic Reviews blog.