Keeping up with Tinybeans

Without getting you into the nitty-gritty of all of our family’s little nuances, the dynamics and relationships of our extended family tend to get a little complicated. As though living half-way across the country with a constantly changing address wasn’t complicated enough.

Regardless of all the different sides of our family we have to address when it comes to communication, it was clear that there was an all-around demand for frequent photo evidence that our son was indeed growing up and remaining healthy and cute. A million separate emails or texts simply was not an option and constantly posting to Facebook got tiresome for several reasons:

  • I didn’t want to blast EVERYONE in the face with unwanted pictures and videos of my child…
  • More importantly, I didn’t feel comfortable giving 700 of my closest Facebook friends daily updates about the whereabouts and activities of my child. PLUS…
  • Not everyone in our family actually uses Facebook.

Then Mallory finally sold me on the idea of Tinybeans, an online journal and app for sharing milestones and “moments” (which can be recorded in the form of text, picture or video) with loved ones in a more tailored manner. At first I thought it might just be one more way I might annoy people, but the selling points for me were as follows:

  • I can invite family members via their email address (no app download required to view a “journal”).
  • The only people that have access to our pictures on Tinybeans are the people I invite, so we have more privacy than other social media platforms.
  • Loved ones are updated via email with a summary of  recorded moments.
  • Each individual can choose how often they want to be updated. Instead of daily emails, they might want to get a summary every week, month, not at all or immediately!
  • I get push notifications at the end of every day reminding me to share something for the day if I haven’t already. It’s a reminder I very much need!

Here are some sample screenshots from Tinybeans.com of what I see when I use the app on my Android:

Android-Calendar

Here is the calendar view of a journal. A family member sees the same layout on their computer. I love how nice it looks and how easy it is to use when photos are organized this way! A tile will remain blank if you don’t upload a moment for that day…family members will worry something horrible happened to you that day.

Android-Daily

Here is what is seen when I click on any particular day. Again, family members basically see the same thing on a computer and can react by “loving” a moment or making a comment. It is also very easy for them to download a copy of any picture from this view.

Android-Cards

Tinybeans also has “cards” that prompt you to record developmental and growth milestones for your baby. Cards also give you articles about anything related to parenting. Some of it is important educational info and some of it is just fun. You can hide them as they come up if you don’t want to see them. And yes, some are ads.

 

The above side-by-side image of the “Milestone view” shows the main difference between iOS and Android views of the app. The previous screenshots I posted all look the same on iOS. Here, I will admit defeat as an Android user in this instance and say that the iOS version of this screen is more pleasing. Although, as a latecomer to this app, recording milestones hasn’t been all that important to me because I missed recording a majority of the fun baby ones.

I know I got a little more technical and descriptive in this post (and I promise this is not a paid post, just my own honest opinion because I’ve enjoyed using the app), but after Mallory shared some of the difficulties of living away from family last week, I thought it might be a good opportunity to share one of our favorite solutions for staying in-touch.

I get rave reviews from our family members about what they see on Tinybeans, and I’ve been very happy with the quality it keeps images and videos. It has made sharing my son’s moments with family and close friends easy and fun to do and has helped everyone feel more connected even when we’re hundreds of miles away.

Do you live far away from family members? How do you keep them connected?

 

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