At my grandfather's 90th birthday in September 2013, all family members in attendance were given a USB flash drive with an audio interview. My grandparents talked at length about their lives. This interview really made me smile, and I though how happy the voices of our loved ones can make us feel. I then set out to create a digital voice archive.
Our target audience is sentimental smartphone users, i.e. parents with growing kids as well as kids with aging parents. Soal really has something for everyone, though, as everyone has a voice. Everyone has a voice that makes them smile. And everyone has a voice they'd like to save forever. Hearing a loved one's voice can be uplifting like nothing else. A voice can be calming. A voice can be inspirational. A voice can change the world.
So far we've created the Soal iPhone App. Users record a voice or sound, then tag a caption and theme (message, music momento, guestbook, kid chronicle, journal, or audio ancestry. Users can add a photo to hear the story behind the picture. Recordings are automatically saved in the timeline and can be shared via Twitter, Facebook, email, and SMS.
Eventually we would like to build an Android app and full service website. (The Happiness Apps Challenge prize money will help us accomplish this!). Soal will spread happiness as people share their voices instead of sharing text messages and "wall posts." Soal will reduce stress and depression by saving relaxing voices and inspirational messages. Soal will make people feel more loved and less alone.
I am most proud of the ability to share these recorded voices and sounds with other iPhone users via email, SMS, Facebook, and Twitter which was just added November 24. By incorporating existing social media platforms Soal will be able to rapidly increase the world's happiness quotient. At the end of December we will hopefully be launching direct "Soal2Soal" messaging, just in time for the Happiness Apps Challenge! This sharing capability helps people fill their Soals and warm their hearts.
Most people would rather actually HEAR from their friends and family rather than read a text message or a Facebook wall post or an email. There is just something about someone's voice that makes you feel loved and makes you feel happy. Whenever you are down, Soal will lift you up by helping you hear the voice of someone who loves you. Whenever you want to make someone happy, you can send them a Soal message to make them smile. And Soal will save those smiles forever.