AUGUST 22, 2017
You guys, I love Voxer. And I owe it to my little sister, Trish.
How many times have you texted back and forth with a friend, your sibling, your parents, or other family member trying to set up a phone date? Then the time for the phone date arrives and something comes up and you spend time going back and forth to reschedule. Or suddenly you wake up one day and realize you’ve lost touch with someone really special to you. Life just got in the way. You didn’t mean to. And now the thought of having a phone call is overwhelming because there is just so. much. to catch up on. You save it for ‘when you have time’. And then you don’t have time.
My friends, it’s time to Vox it up. What is Voxer? Listen, I am not a techie, so, in my own words, it’s simply an app where you record and exchange messages with a person or a group of people. It’s like a walkie talkie. You just tap a button a start talking. The recipient of your message can play it and respond at their leisure. It was actually created back in 2007 by Tom Katis, after a US Army Special Forces tour in Afghanistan where he felt there was a need for a better tool to coordinate and communicate with troops. Voxer launched more formally in 2011, but – at least in my world – it seems to be a resource that people are just starting to discover.
My little sister, Trish, showed me the app about a year or so ago. And I totally didn’t get it at first. She’s been using it for several years. She has 3 best friends from high school and they have a group set up where they all leave messages and they have been able to stay caught up with each other’s lives, help each other through issues and celebrate each other’s good news. On a regular basis. In today’s busy world, that is pretty much a miracle.
I was skeptical so Trish set up a message group for herself, our other sister, Maria, and me. Fast forward a year and the three of us have never felt so caught up on the details of each others' lives. And to be able to have these “conversations” in a group instead of one on one is invaluable. We share our updates on life, funny stories, ask for advice, and sometimes just vent.
In addition, as I have shared here and here, I have recently relocated my life and am still in the process of finding my local tribe. In the meantime, I need the connection of my good friends and we are all scattered about the globe in various time zones and life stages. This offers me a way to still get those good vibes you get from a visit with someone who knows you, loves you and gets you.
I’ve also started offering it to clients as a communication tool between sessions. I realized that most of the time, after leaving a detailed update on Voxer, I feel a bit lighter or I discover an insight by sharing a challenge I’m going through out loud and putting it into words. It can be like therapy, people.
Interested? If so, here are a few beginner notes for those who want to check it out:
· ‘Tap to Talk’: You will end up yapping for longer than you expect and you don’t want to hold down the talk button that long. Go to Settings -> Audio and Notifications and turn on the Tap to Talk function. Then just tap to start talking and tap again when you are done.
· Message length: You can talk for 15 minutes per voice message. Then it cuts off. No big deal, you just start a new one!
· Storage: Messages expire after 30 days with the free Voxer account – there’s an upgrade available for a monthly fee if you want to hold onto messages for longer
· Message type: In addition to voice messages, you may also type a message or share photos and videos
· ‘Notes’: You can leave yourself a voice recording as a reminder or in place of jotting down notes
Are there other apps and things out there that do this? Yep. I’m sure there are. But this one works well for me, I like the interface and it’s easy to use. So I thought I’d share.
Nothing beats seeing that your sister left you two 15-minute voice messages as you head out on a long drive or settle in for a night of breastfeeding. My sister Trish even records some messages to us on her runs. (I’m not currently at that level of fitness, but I like the idea of multi-tasking.)
This absolutely does not replace the magic of an in-person visit or live phone call. But it sure does help fill the gaps in between.