Written By: Patrick Talley, creator of Swaha
I was celebrating my mother’s 84th birthday with my two kids and some of my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and of course with my mom.
My brother’s daughter, one of my mother’s only granddaughters in a sea of grandsons, is a teen and was doing what teens love to do at family get togethers; she was talking about a concert she had attended the previous weekend. She was showing all of these photos from her smart phone camera roll and flipping to the next picture and talking about how fun the concert was for her and her friends.
Watching her do this, and hearing the excitement in her voice –it just hit me.
“Why can’t we share moments like this that occur in our off-line world with others in our online world?” I mean here we were with this wonderful beautiful soul, my niece, all excited about the concert she had attended with her friends and only those in that moment would be able to appreciate her enthusiasm.
As a long time technology guy and technology user, I am always pleased to see technology do a great job of scaling what we do in our off-line world.
So sitting there at my mother’s 84th birthday party with family I realized I could create a simple little app to allow people to instantly record and share narrated slideshows from the camera of their smart phone.
That was the beginning of Swaha, at the time an unnamed new app I was going to create.
After the app was created, the brilliant Ann Hyde, one of Texas’ most renowned yoga instructors, suggested that we call the app Swaha which is Sanskrit for “well said”. Swaha is used at the end of a prayer or invocation as a “send-off”. What a great name for such a simple app, Swaha!
Swaha is very simple. You just go to your camera roll and select 1 to 20 photos. The app sequences them in the order you have selected them. Swaha then shows the selected images at the top of the screen in sort of a storyboard fashion. Next, you begin recording, narrating over the first image and swipe to the next image and the next, just like you would do if you were talking and showing someone photos on your camera roll. You can go forward or backwards and, as a matter fact, you can even go up to the “storyboard” and select out of sequence and/or forward and backwards. Once you are done narrating over your photos you click save and your Swaha story is created (a narrated slide show). Then you can choose to share it or keep it private. There are many ways to share: Facebook, iMessage, email, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc.
Swaha is being used for many purposes; one that excites me is a group of gerontologists who are using Swaha to create life memory stories for those with Alzheimer’s. They are taking photos from family albums or even going to Google images and downloading iconic images for memory prompts. The fact that my little creation is helping others with cognitive challenges touches my heart. We are making a difference with Swaha.
Swaha is also used just for fun as well as in professional environments. Realtors are using Swaha to make instant property tours to share with prospective buyers while they visit a site for the first time. Contractors, HSE and safety personnel are using Swaha to take photos and send incident reports or change orders. I have even used Swaha to communicate with the contractor remodeling my home. Sort of a “hey here’s a photo of the wall where I want the new outlet to be placed and over here is a photo of a light switch I want moved to this location in the bedroom”. Social media marketing professionals are using Swaha to sell items such as make up, AdvoCare, and of course lots of fitness instructors and yoga instructors are using Swaha for demonstration purposes. Teachers are using Swaha to get kids excited about doing book reports and I have seen several Swaha stories about people taking trips out in nature posted on Facebook and Instagram.
Sometimes I think Swaha is just a great communication tool and other times I believe it is just a ton of fun. I guess it is both. Give it a try, it is free after all and if you like it please tell others.