For the increasing number of Brits looking for alternatives to Facebook, Storychest offers a more private, meaningful way to share online this Easter, say founders
A new iPhone app is offering consumers a way to share and store memories, photos and keepsakes in the cloud, without the unwelcome data collectors and other prying eyes.
According to founder Charlotte McMillan, Storychest offers a genuine alternative for the growing swathe of Facebook leavers. “Storychest is a journal meets photo album meets scrapbook for the digital age which allows people to share private moments and events with their loved ones, without problems associated with so-called ‘free’ social media platforms,” she explains.
With the revelations surrounding the #DeleteFacebook Cambridge Analytica scandal continuing to unfold, more and more Britons are wondering where they can keep and share their personal photos and memories safely.
McMillan now feels that the time has come for what she and her business partner, Balvinder Gill, describe as the more transparent Storychest app, to win the hearts of a public burned by the knowledge of how their data has been abused.
“There can, and should, be a safe place to share and keep memories and interact with family and loved ones online,” states McMillan. “We fully understand why some people are switched off by some of the Silicon Valley companies which are collecting and selling data.
“We don’t capture and sell your data. We don’t sell advertising. Instead, users wishing to keep up to 25 stories can do so for free within the app, and after that, if they like our service we charge a small, monthly subscription.”
But McMillan says the reasons for creating her app existed well before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.
McMillan, who moved from Brisbane to London in 1998, ended up settling and now has a young family here, says: “I needed a way to digitally organise and keep the best of the endless stream of photos, videos, diaries, keepsakes, years of memorabilia produced and collected by the family, haphazardly stuffed in boxes, buried on computer drives, lost on
devices and scattered in social media.
“But on top of that, it needed to be a place to add a few thoughts, tell stories in more detail, leave a meaningful account of things as they happened and capture memories from the past, before they got lost in the business of life.”
A turning point, says McMillan, was losing precious photos of her children, including baby photos. “I’d had one of those moments a parent dreads,” she explains. “While sorting photos on the home PC that weren’t backed up, I’d managed to delete swathes of photos of the boys, including the baby photos of our third boy, Archie. I realised it all needed to be saved in the cloud.”
With Google Trends data revealing a growing demand in the UK for alternatives to Facebook, McMillan and Gill, now feel that the time has come when people are looking for something else, a more trustworthy service.
McMillan adds, “Facebook broke new ground and brought people together. Posting online is now second nature to us. However, the tech giants have shown little accountability in the way they operate – in the case of the recent revelations about Facebook, at best, turning a blind eye. They will no doubt face a much more regulated and constrained landscape as the full picture becomes clear.”
“Storychest, meanwhile is simple personal and private. Your stories are shared with only those people who you choose to see them, and no further.”
“We think it’s time to take the positive lessons learnt, embrace our desire to share and communicate, but to do so within a transparent, safe environment, giving the control back to the consumer.”
To find out more about the Storychest iPhone app, visit: storychest.com and download it for free at the App Store.
Five tips for keeping your data safe, from Storychest founder (and former lawyer) Charlotte McMillan
1. If the platform’s free, remember that you (or, more precisely, your personal data) might well be the product. Check the terms and conditions to see what you’ll be agreeing to when it comes to your personal data.
2. If you’re worried about privacy on Facebook, but not ready to leave the platform, consider altering your privacy settings and adjusting the kind of information you share.
3. For the most personal information, consider sharing with just friends and family on a separate, closed platform, like Storychest.
4. If you choose to leave Facebook due to privacy concerns, you need to decide whether to ‘delete’ or ‘suspend’ your account. Deletion is irreversible, meaning you may wish to download and save photos and other information before you do so.
5. With GDPR coming into force in May, you will be receiving requests from brands to ‘opt in’ to their marketing. Take this opportunity to take control of your own data – a new dawn is arising for consumers and brands alike.