I am not a scrapbooker. (If you did not realize scrapbookers exist, obviously you are not one either.)
I do obsessively take pictures of my kids. I just don’t spend my time making a book and cutting out cute borders and writing in adorable fonts.
The problem with this is that there’s not much that my kids have to access when they get older unless they decide to scroll through years of my Facebook page. I try to transfer pics from my phone to my computer every so often, but they’re still an unorganized mess of data.
Then there’s things that a picture may not capture. Like how last night, in our ongoing battle to get Graham to eat, he whimpered pathetically as he looked at his plate with virtually nothing on it, “There is SO MUCH to EAT!” It was hard enough not to laugh. (Failed. Totally laughed.) There was no way I’d get a picture out of that, especially when we were supposed to be all serious.
My blog does help me capture my kids as they grow, but it’s not a here-are-my-kids blog, it’s a here’s-me-and-oh-yeah-these-are-my-kids blog. For a lot of people I think that’s how social media works, too. We don’t want to bombard everyone on Facebook with the 59 pictures and 6 videos we took of baby’s first steps. But we still want all 59 of those pictures and 6 of the videos preserved.
So I think something like Lifeables is great for people like me, who are instagramming their kids constantly but may not be printing and framing the pictures.
Lifeables taps into your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Picasa accounts (there are more coming soon) to find memorable pictures and occasions for you to save and organize. It’s very easy to login (I used Facebook, even though I normally don’t, since I wanted Lifeables to pull out my Facebook pictures) and start an account. One smart thing the program does is ask for your kids’ names, birthdays, nicknames, etc. It then searches through your accounts for relevant pictures, status updates, etc.
Once it’s found “memories” for you, you can decide whether to keep them and add notes and pictures to them. When I was done collecting the memories I wanted, my page looked like this:
You can see some are status updates, some are pics and they allow you to sort them by person. When you add a memory, it will automatically tag the people mentioned in it and you can always add more. Here’s a recent memory from this weekend. Lifeables uploaded the picture and I added some context.
With Instagram in particular it’s hard to search for pictures and even harder trying to remember dates and times and events. I love the ability to work with some of these fast-moving and hard-to-search social media programs and letting you capture them in time. (You’re not looking so hot either, Twitter.)
After you’ve compiled your pics, you now have a profile you can see for your kids and any other friends or family you may have added. Here’s a look at Graham’s page:
If I ever have something new to add for Graham or just a little note to remember I can just click right on his profile and leave it. Love that.
In addition, you can make a “lifeable,” which is basically a little album of something in particular. I made one focused on Graham’s first day of school. And I made another capturing lots of pictures of Tessa’s silly facial expressions. I like the ability to make anything into a lifeable. And I like the ability to drag and drop things into it.
Here in Tessa’s lifeable you can see the original pictures I took, the captions of the original pictures in bold, and then my notes for the lifeable below. It’s making me feel a lot better about not having a baby book for her. Especially since she is a practically perfect baby right now. I think my next lifeable for Tesser shall be called “Freeze Her In Time, Please?”
One thing I think Lifeable is great for is sharing photos and memories with family and friends that you don’t want exposed to the world at large. Especially when you’re a blogger and you have who knows what people coming around to look at your pictures, you now have a place on the internet to share photos with those who may not want their pics blasted all over the internet. I think this will be something we use for future cousin meetups. And if you don’t like having to share all your family pics on Dropbox or something, here you can all collaborate and combine your photos. Awesome, right?
Obviously I’m sold on the concept of Lifeable. I think it has a great niche in the online world of photo sharing and privacy. But since this is a review, I should add my criticisms.
- The interface definitely takes some getting used to. At first it’s not really clear what the difference is between a “memory” and a “lifeable” and how to edit profiles and such. You’ll want to spend some time navigating for a while to get comfortable. With that said, the site itself works surprisingly quickly and well for something that’s still this new.
- I love that it has access to Instagram in particular. But I don’t like that its search for pics and memories limits itself mostly to things where you name your kids specifically. They do let you search by keyword, but to find the pics I wanted (like Tessa’s super adorbs pic with the glasses) I had to call up the pic in Instagram, find a word in the caption I could search for, and then get it. Which kind of defeats the purpose. I’d love to be able to tap into my entire stream of pictures and choose from there. That’s one of the reasons Instagram annoys me, is its difficulty in searching. So there are definitely limitations.
- The division of memories is something I still don’t quite understand. They have categories like “memorable,” “notable,” “likeable.”
- Though they’re connected with Twitter, I couldn’t get this adorable pic that I RT’d but didn’t take.
I think getting started with Lifeable is the hardest part. Once you’re in it it should be fairly easy to add content that you’ve just taken and create a specific memory-saving lifeable. It was a little harder going through older stuff and deciding what to upload and trying to track down my pictures. To really maximize it, I’d sit down to organize your pics and memories pretty shortly after gathering them.
If you have a little time to get comfortable and you’re tired of sorting through your Facebook albums, this could be a great tool for you. They also have a shop where you can create actual printed pictures from your lifeables, so you can send them on to your not-so-digital pals.
I’m thinking of doing a lifeable at the end of every month for each kid to celebrate their achievements and the moments I don’t want to miss. Having all that in one lovely place makes me feel happy. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE? Yes. Free.