Have you heard of Marco Polo? Not the swimming pool game, the video chat app.
Kathy Streib, the Queen of apps, told me about it some time ago, but I didn't check it out until recently.
It has changed the way my family communicates.
It's so convenient and so much fun.
It started with our recent four-week roadtrip. My family had been using Snapchat for messaging, but Snapchat messages disappear after 24 hours. I wanted to stay in touch with my family, while documenting the trip, with messages that could be saved.
I decided to give Marco Polo a try.
Not only was it awesome for the trip, it has become our primary way of communicating.
We use it for one-on-one messaging, but my family primarily uses it to talk as a group...my mom, husband, two daughters, two sons-in-law and my daughter-in-law.
Here's how Marco Polo works:
First step is to create a list of contacts. (It's easy, just send invitations.)
You hit start to begin a video and hit stop to end it.
Your contacts can watch and respond in real time or whenever it's convenient for them. Sometimes everyone is there at once and the conversation lasts awhile, but usually people chime in when they have the time.
Think of it as a walkie talkie in video format.
You can delete videos as you wish.
If you delete your own video it is deleted everywhere. If you delete the video message of someone else, it is only deleted from your view.
There are filters and voice changers you can play with. Filters come in handy when you don't feel camera pretty.
Marco Polo has helped my family connect in more ways than just messaging...
My parents live in Florida and one of my daughters lives in New York, but we see each other every day using this app.
My mom's sister, Eleanor, is in assisted living. When I visit Eleanor, she also gets to "visit" Mom via Marco Polo.
A couple of months ago my husband found his birth mother (and two sisters) via Ancestry DNA. When we drove to NJ to meet them we used Marco Polo to include my family who otherwise couldn't have shared in the experience.
Yesterday my mom used Marco Polo to tell us that my dad was having extreme pain in his leg and couldn't walk. Updates from the hospital and after he had x-rays and after they got home were all done using the app.
She was able to communicate to the group... without dialing, without typing... easily and quickly...in real time...simply by pressing START and STOP.
She let us know this morning that Dad is doing much better.
Thank you Kathy for the great suggestion.
We are really enjoying Marco Polo!