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Simplify Storytelling and Preserve Personalities by Voice Recording Memories

Andrew Ronald
Simirity Founder | Father of two

When it comes to impactful storytelling, not all mediums are equal – voice recording memories might be your best option. 

When I think about my grandparents who are no longer with us, no written words or photos could ever compare to hearing my grandparents talk. People’s voices tell us so much more than the words alone. Even silence speaks.  

In this article about voice recording memories, we’ll present a case for replacing written words with voice recordings when you preserve your family’s memories.

A lady voice recording memories into a microphone.
Fancy microphones like this are nice, but your smartphone is more than enough.

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Why Bother Recording Family Memories?

Do you feel that natural instinct to try to preserve the good things from today for future enjoyment? Or the desire to share special moments with those you care about? You’re not alone. 

Preserving memories has become a part of our daily lives. Armed with our smartphones and apps, sharing memories in photo and video format and writing messages has never been more popular. Social media, cloud storage for photos, and chat apps have become an integral part of many families’ communication.

Ultimately though, what are we hoping to achieve by sharing and preserving family memories on Facebook, WhatsApp, or Google Photos?

1. To bond with people we care about

Besides the transfer of information, we communicate to bond with people.

Life is better together! Watching the sunset is a more beautiful experience when shared. 

We want to share our lives and be a part of others’. Even when, as is common these days, we can’t physically meet as often as we would like. 

So, in the absence of others, we share a photo or a message in an effort to connect with them at this very moment.

 2. To build a strong family heritage for future family

Have you ever felt that nagging regret of not asking an older family member about something until it’s too late?

It’s all too easy to assume the stories about our parents, grandparents, extended family, and even our childhood will be available to access anytime, forever. But for many families, that’s not true. At work, we are diligent in backing up our data. But at home, our family ‘data’ in the form of stories and information is saved only in people’s minds. And regretfully, they will not be around forever.

Your best defence against losing the stories that form the backbone of your family heritage is to store them in a story archive, either digitally or on paper. 

Don't lose family stories when you lose family memories.

Simirity

3. For future viewing delight

Each memory captured, is like planting a seed for the future. 

Today’s story might seem ‘ordinary’, but its importance increases over time. Putting children to bed, family dog walks, playing with children, and family get-togethers will cease to be, in their current form at least. By recording such memories, you, your children, and your extended family get to relive those moments far into the future. 

4. To help others live their best life

Life can be challenging, and we want to help those we love live their best life. If what we’ve learned can help, then it’s natural to want to share our insights and advice with others. 

We also want the youth in our families to feel cared for and supported by their families so they can venture forth with confidence. They won’t feel that until they have open and honest communication with the people who will support them.

Do Modern Apps Help Us Achieve this?

We’ve never been better ‘connected’ to the people we care about. Expensive telephone calls and snail mail are replaced with immediate and cheap alternatives.

Yet as a society, we’ve never felt more alone. A 2021 survey, showed that 31% of American’s felt alone, despite all the technology on offer.

So no, modern apps are not helping us ‘bond’ in any meaningful way. Nor are they helping us build a family heritage for the future—they’re all about dopamine hits today to keep people clicking and less about creating something meaningful for the future. To some extent, they are an archive of messages and visuals, but not organised in a way that we’ll easily find what we are looking for in 20 years. 

Nevertheless, we do our best to share and preserve memories using the tools available to us. They’re just not helping us reach our goal as much as they could.

So, how could they be better? We believe that changing the way memories are shared and preserved will bring families closer to achieving their goals. Let’s see how.

What Is the Best Medium to Communicate Memories?

We recommend using a mix of different mediums, from written word to videos, to get your message across. People take information onboard differently, so stories combining different elements will have something for everyone. And different mediums complement each other beautifully.

Let’s briefly look at the benefits of common mediums.

Writing

The only medium most of us have been trained in is writing. So, through habit, it has become our default tool for digital communication. 

If you enjoy writing, it has plenty of benefits: time to mull over ideas, the freedom to endlessly edit and craft the words until they’re ready to be released into the world, and so on. 

Written information is excellent at transferring information. But our carefully chosen words can result in stories that feel stripped of the writer’s character—like a watered-down version of the real story—a missed opportunity to connect on a personal level.

Photos to Preserve Memories

Photos always succeed in injecting interest into stories and bringing people together. Worth a thousand words, they light up parts of the brain that words can’t. 

Photos are a precious way of recording and recalling our lives, but they are only a snapshot of a single moment. They are not ‘alive’ like videos.

Also, despite smartphones’ ability to take photos at all times, there are so many memories that don’t have visuals to match. Conversations you’ve had, memories about a grandmother, or news from your children’s day at school—all missing photos.

Video Recordings

Videos are arguably at their best when they ‘capture the moment’. Perhaps shot from the sidelines, participants unaware of being recorded. A fly-on-the-wall documentary of something that happened in real life. Precious and timeless. 

Extending the idea, you could video yourself telling a story. One-upping the written word with visuals and voice that give the viewer a fuller experience.

But it can be daunting to talk to the camera on cue. It often triggers our ‘fight or flight’ instinct, resulting in clamming up or putting on a performance, neither of which captures the person or the story in the best light. 

Voice Recordings

The ever-available smartphone has made photos and videos more popular than ever. However, the humble microphone is often overlooked when it comes to storytelling. 

Voice recordings are extremely attractive for two main reasons:

1. For creators – it’s easier than typing

Anytime, anywhere, capture a message with voice. 

With the record button pressed, there’s no camera to perform for; there’s just a pleasant chat to be had. Forget spelling concerns, there’s no formatting to worry about, and you don’t have to fix any mistakes at the end. As fast as the thoughts enter your head, they are preserved.

Phew, that’s easy!

As an added bonus, you can easily talk with others in your recording. What does your child or partner have to say about it? It’s unlikely you would collaborate on a written message but it’s a piece of cake with voice recordings.

2. For recipients – voice communicates personality and emotions

Voice recordings deliver the story’s message with a personal touch, showing personality and emotions that can’t be captured by the written word. 

One group for whom voice recordings are especially preferable is children. Voice instead of text makes stories much more accessible and exciting, especially for those who have not mastered reading. In just a couple of clicks, they listen intently and learn about their family. 

I personally find that there is something more intimate about audio recordings than video.

The absence of visuals fires up my imagination. My focus is firmly placed on every word, on every breath, as if they are whispering directly into our ear – conjuring up the scene in my mind. Videos can be super distracting with too many things to look at and sounds vying for our attention. Yes they are entertaining, but their message can be diluted by passing cars, a wobbling camera and cute dogs.

And when it comes to remembering the personality of people who have passed away, listening to their voices is priceless.

It’s with great sadness that I can no longer remember the exact accent of my grandparents. I miss not only their voices but also the way they said things and the words they used. They were unique. I wish we had recorded them, to have preserved a tiny piece of them in a voice recording. It’s a mistake we will not repeat.

Two Areas Where Voice Recordings Are Unbeatable  

While written words and media files can compete with voice in some instances, here are two situations where voice excels.

Voice is best for interviews

Trying to capture all the stories from your family’s past can be intimidating. Where do you start? Surely it’s going to take forever to capture all this information?

What would preserving family stories look like if it were simple? Just press record and talk.

Step 1 – Brainstorm questions

What do you want to preserve in stories? Whose lives are you keen to talk about? Find inspiration for stories using our story prompts. You don’t need a prioritised list of hundreds of questions; just enough to get started and ignite the conversation. You can always come back on another day to pick up on anything that gets missed.

Step 2 – Ask family your questions while recording the conversation

Start recording an audio file on your computer, Android, or iPhone. Depending on storage, it can last for hours! Even if you only get to do this once with family, that single MP4 file will be filled with memories that can be passed on to your children. And you’ll have fun and make great new memories when you make it.

Once recorded, share the MP4 audio file with your family and find a way to ensure it is remembered (read on for our solution).

Voice is best when paired with photos

What is the perfect accompaniment to a photo? A voice telling you what’s happening in the photo.

That’s what naturally happens when we show photos to people we are with. The photo engages their eyes and our voice engages their ears – the perfect partnership. Yet sadly, most apps don’t let you pair photos with voice recordings. You can see the photo and read the description after it, but you don’t get to enjoy the visuals and their details at the same time. Until we made the Simirity App…

We are a family business and one of our main motivations for creating the Simirity App was to get the most from our family stories. We wanted to share life stories today while storing cherished memories for tomorrow. And voice recordings play a pivotal role.

Introduction to the Simirity App.

One feature everyone loves is called ‘Photo Narrations’. For every photo, you can add a voice recording of up to 60 seconds. 

As a creator, upload your best photos and share a few words about each, saving you the hassle of typing.

As a story recipient, enjoy looking at photos while a loved one tells you about them.

Photos and voice are a perfect partnership. It’s so easy to record and impactful to hear; stories needn’t be more than photos and their narrations.

If 60 seconds isn’t enough for a photo narration, you can add a voice recording to your story of up to 30 minutes. Add as many 30 minute audio recordings as you need to each story. 

One significant advantage of adding your voice recordings to the Simirity App is that you will receive story anniversary notifications. So stories with your audio recordings are woven into daily life, not forgotten on a hard drive. Just imagine receiving a notification about a story with you and your partner talking about life shortly after your first child. Or a story with your parents talking about how they met, or sharing tips for making your family’s favourite dish. That’s how you can get the most from your family’s voice recordings. 

If you would like to learn more about the Simirity App, visit our home page.

Summary of Voice Recording Memories

Earlier we talked about why we bother to record family stories. We do so because:

  1. We want to connect with the people we care about, because life’s better shared.
  2. We want to pass on a rich family heritage, filled with stories and memories. 
  3. We want to plant seeds today, so we have wonderful memories to relive in the future.
  4. We want to help our family by sharing what we’ve learned and showing willingness to help.

Voice recordings are something of a silver bullet when it comes to these four points. It helps in all cases because listening to people’s voices is an intimate experience that strengthens bonds more than any other medium. 

So, capitalise on the power of your voice. Pause the typing and hit ‘record’ on voice recordings – the king of mediums for family stories. 

All smartphones have voice recording apps you can use, or record using a computer application such as Audacity. Alternatively, try the Simirity App, adding 60 second narrations to photos or 30 minute recordings for longer memories.

How you share and save your voice recordings is important too. Voice recordings seldom heard are of little value and risk getting lost over time. The Simirity App takes care of that by archiving all your family’s stories in a single place that’s accessible to all and designed to welcome your future family. 

However you record – do record, without delay. The voice of loved ones is too precious to lose. 

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