Posted in Project Ideas

Famicity – A Scrapbook for the 21st Century

Famicity is described as a private social network designed for families. It is that, but it is also a beautiful way to build a scrapbook of your family’s history – current, near past and distant past. Those of us researching our family history have collected all kinds of photos, ephemera and stories about our ancestors. Famicity offers a beautiful platform to show off all those wonderful things along with their stories.

Famicity Screen

In this view, I’ve posted individual photos from my family collection. Each photo has fields to include date, place and description. The description can be a simple caption or a story. You can also add tags to each entry. These tags can be useful to quickly display all photos and stories associated with a particular tag. You can tag a person, a place, an event or whatever keyword will help you organize the elements you post at Famicity.

Each item you include in Famicity can be assigned permissions. This makes it possible to include friends as visitors but limit their access to certain entries. It could also be used to limit the younger family members access to photos or stories that aren’t appropriate for their age. As the owner/manager of your Famicity network, you control who has access and what they have access to. The Tree element also serves as the “profile” for each member. As the site manager, you can also organize individuals into groups. Groups are useful for quickly assigning permissions or sending messages to a certain group.

Albums and video in Famicity

I love the albums component. It’s the perfect place to celebrate an event, vacation or family collection – both past and present. You can tag and comment on the album and on individual photos within the album. You can also include captions to each photo.

Don’t ignore the video element either. Capture and share those special moments like a baby’s first steps. You can share videos from platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, but that means the video is still visible to the world. When you are posting a “private” video – one you don’t want to share with the world – you can post the video file directly on Famicity. You would need the Famicity Premium account ($4.99/month) which includes 50GB of storage with 1GB for each member.

In addition to photos, videos, ephemera and stories, Famicity also includes a private messaging space where members can communicate with each other. Using the Inbox, only the people in the conversation will have access to those messages. Each person has a profile page which also serves as an address book for members. The profile information on each member includes email address, birthdate and a photo. Famicity is set up to send birthday reminders to Famicity members using the profile information. Send your birthday greetings as a private message or as a graphic birthday “card” on the Famicity timeline where members can share their greetings with everyone using the comment element for that card.

There’s a lot more Famicity goodness just waiting for you and your family to enjoy. One very nice feature is its cost – nothing! To learn more and get started on your own Famicity network, visit them at https://Famicity.com.

Posted in News

MeWe – The Next-Gen Social Network

Facebook’s days of telling us to ignore that man behind the curtain are over. It’s obvious that our privacy means nothing in their world. Fortunately we have options. One of them is a delightful social network called MeWe. Their privacy policy is short and to the point:

Your personal privacy and the privacy of your data is paramount to us at MeWe. We have prepared this Privacy Policy to clearly explain how we protect you and your data at MeWe.

With MeWe, your content is yours. You won’t find tracking cookies collecting information about us or how we use the MeWe network. As you can see here, your account isn’t bombarded with advertisements either.

MeWe101.png

How do they do it? They offer a “freemium” service. You can get started at no cost. Each user has 8GB of free storage for posting photos, documents, videos and other files. If you need more space, you will be charged a monthly fee based on the amount of storage you select. There are other premium features you can choose to use – or not. For example, you can purchase additional emoji collections or add an extra layer of security for one-on-one chats with Secret Chat encryption.

MeWeCloud106.png

The My Cloud section is fascinating. It displays all my posts, photos, videos and voice messages. From here I can select any item to download, share or delete. In the left sidebar is a panel showing how much space I’ve used and how much is available. If I need more space, I just click the button to purchase it.

I just had a very pleasant video chat with a cousin via MeWe. She has been a member for a while and once I had given MeWe permission to share my contacts, I popped up in her My Chats panel. They only display your contacts to people who are MeWe users so, for now, it’s just the two of us. I have connected to several other users since creating my account and they also show up in My Chats.

screenshot_220.png

Groups are impressive yet easy to navigate. The group’s timeline is front and center. Each post has an area for comments – which can include photos, links and files. MeWe uses hashtags (a keyword prefaced with a hash mark) to make searching even easier. Use the Group Chat box in the right sidebar to start a discussion and the Events calendar to organize online events for the group.

I have moved the Storytellers Studio group to MeWe and have found it delightful. It’s easy to navigate, has a Files library where I can post PDF user guides and provides not just commenting, but one-on-one chats and even group chats. They have announced an upcoming video option which will make it possible to present demonstrations and other fun goodies.

If you are looking for creative ways to share your family history, join us here and at the Storytellers Studio group on MeWe.

 

Posted in Storytelling

What’s Your Family Story?

Famicity is a private social network designed as a way for families to share their stories. It’s a beautiful way to document both today’s family and our ancestors.

Famicity screen on iPad
Famicity on an iPad

Famicity combines stories, albums and even videos with a family tree, internal messaging system and address book to make it beautiful way for families to stay in touch and share special family moments. For the family historian, it is also a creative way to share the stories and memorabilia of our ancestors.

Famicity is available on Windows and Mac desktops as well as iOS and Android phones and tablets. It costs nothing to create a Famicity account and, once created, you control who to invite to your private Famicity network.

They describe themselves as a “private social network designed to protect, share and continue your family’s legacy.” It is that – and more! You can post photos, build albums, post videos and stories. There’s plenty of options for comments and conversations too. You can access Famicity using your web browser or using the free mobile apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets. All the content you post in Famicity is encrypted and stored on their servers.

Tap the “hamburger” icon (the three green horizontal lines) at the top left of the Famicity screen to display the menu you see on the left. You are looking at the News screen where the most recently posted content appears at the top of my timeline. As you scroll down the screen, you go futher back in the timeline. Note that the photos shown here show who posted this item and when. When posting a photo, once it has been added to an album you can tap the photo to display an overlay making it possible to add a description and date for that photo. In the example above, the photo on the left was edited to include the date but the photo on the right was not so the current date was automatically displayed.

When viewing an album, you’ll see a panel similar to the one shown here. In the column on the right you see the title and description of this album along with icons to Like, Comment or Tag the photos in it. You can also use the comment box at the bottom of the panel to ask questions or share thoughts. Each comment is displayed in date order in this panel.

Tags are used to identify the people included in your album or story. If you are creating a story describing a vacation or holiday get-together, you can tag everyone present at this event. Use the Tag icon in the album, story or photo to set your tags.

Inviting family and friends to your Famicity network is quite easy. All you do is enter the email address of the family member you want to invite. There is also a place to include a message to add to your invitation. You can use this to add friends as well. Sometimes you will want to limit access to specific content to just your family or a specific set of friends. Famicity supports organizing your network into groups. This, combined with Famicity’s permissions feature, makes it easier to define who can see what within your network. There are two permissions – “Share with” or “Do not share”. You add who can and can’t see that item. By using groups, you can assign one group to share an entry rather than having to list each member by name. There’s no limit to the number of groups you create. You may want a group for your family historians and another for your Georgia cousins. It’s up to you.

The Inbox component makes it possible to send private messages to individuals within your Famicity network. Messages can be addressed to one or more individuals or to a specific group.

Famicity also has a family tree component. You can build your tree on Famicity or import it via GEDCOM if you already have one. While your family may not take to the tree at first, the stories, photos and ephemera posted to the network might just inspire them to see how they “fit” into the their family’s history. When you create a story or album in Famicity, add tags to identify who all are part of the event or photo. When you tap on an individual in the family tree, then select the option to see their story, Famicity will display a timeline for that person including every story and album where they have been tagged.

Famicity is a delight to use. Right now I am collecting stories, albums and ephemera telling our family’s history – recent and historic. Once I have a nice collection to capture their attention, I will start inviting the family. This will give us all opportunities to share the many wonderful family events, vacations and precious moments unique to our family without having to wade through the trash, trivia and advertisements found on most social networks.

Life is good!

To learn more and get started building your own network, visit Famicity at https://www.famicity.com. Got questions? Use the comments box at the bottom of this post to ask questions or share tips.