Creating Authentic Connections At MemberWhen

Andy Potoczak | May 31, 2017

Best Practices | General Interest | Our Company

When I first started working at MemberWhen, I wondered if we had the right approach. We work in audio while life is overflowing with photos and videos. And most of what we make is about 30-minutes long while the average attention span is 8.25 seconds. I couldn’t help but think, “Why this way? Why don’t we use photos and videos? Why are they so long? Is this the best way to connect with people?” But now I’ve been an editor at MemberWhen for a year and a half and I’ve helped people capture hundreds of memories that mean the world to them. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Content, Content Everywhere. And Not A Drop To Drink…

We’re living in the age of Too Much Content. And that doesn’t just apply to Netflix and YouTube– it applies to social media as well. It has never been easier to see what my friends and family members are up to. Photos upon photos. Videos upon videos. Tweets upon tweets. And yet, I don’t feel like I’m actually connecting to them as I click, scroll, and repeat. I want more than what the photos and videos can give me. We are all surrounded by little snippets of our friends and family. But the opportunities to have something really in depth are few and far between (Yes, mom, I know I could just pick up the phone and call, but it’s not the same).

Creative Commons. Flickr user pennuja.

Seeing a picture of my cousin makes me smile. But hearing her talk and hearing my aunt and uncle share the story of her first day of school gives me a sense of connection that I can’t find anywhere else. Those are the sorts of connections I get to help provide here and that’s why I’ve learned to love the depth of what we create. The average attention span may be 8.25 seconds, but when it comes to friends and family… I’ve got all the time in the world.

No One Is Ready For Their Close-Up

A picture is worth a thousand words. That is absolutely true. And snapping a pic or making a quick video has never been easier. But there’s one problem with this when it comes to capturing a sincere moment or memory: people get weird around cameras. Pictures aren’t usually a problem. But if I pull out my phone to take a video, one of two things usually happens. Either the person I want to take a video of completely clams up, or all of a sudden they turn into Groucho Marx and the whole thing becomes a performance. People aren’t themselves when they’re on camera. It’s uncomfortable. There’s too much pressure to “say the right thing.”

Creative Commons. Flickr user Alan Levine.

Audio used to feel old-fashioned to me. Even in the podcasting renaissance, it can feel a little nostalgic to work in audio. But all I want when it comes to capturing the memories of my friends and family is authenticity. I just want everyone to be natural. Over my time at MemberWhen, I’ve been amazed at people’s willingness to open up and be themselves when they talk to us. They are comfortable and natural in a way that they wouldn’t be on camera. What I’ve come to realize is that, if you want to capture authenticity, audio is the answer.

Authentic Connections

There are dozens of ways to go about capturing memories– different mediums, different styles, different philosophies. But at the end of the day, I want to capture memories in a way that creates a deep connection based on sincerity and authenticity. There’s nothing quite like sitting down and enjoying the story of someone you care about.


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