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Sheffield online firm creates safe way for families to share memories

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For lots of parents, sharing photographs of their youngsters with friends and family online via social media has become a real worry.

Media stories of paedophiles trawling sites like Facebook for photographs have led some parents to stop sharing pictures online.

However, it’s a great way for friends and family far away to keep up with youngsters’ progress, so a Sheffield-based firm has come up with an answer that’s secure.

Doncaster dad Paul Brooks, who has extensive experience in online project management and ran his own web agency for six years, dreamed up the idea of Twile when he saw a timeline of World War Two at a museum.

Realising that the timeline had helped him to learn a lot of new information about the war, he started to think about how he could help people create their own timelines online.

As the dad of 18-month-old Macy, he and wife Caroline also wanted to share pictures of her safely, so Paul came up with the idea of Twile.

The resulting website, twile.com, which is at the moment being tested in a Beta version, offers a personal timeline for people to record their lives. Families will be able to post photos, videos and sound recordings and add in milestones.

Users will be able to choose the people who can view their timeline. They can add comments and share their own news but they won’t be able to share anything that is on someone else’s timeline with a third party.

Paul is developing Twile with Kelly Marsden, a mum of three girls, who has extensive experience in making websites easy for people to use. They are based at Sheffield Electric Works.

Kelly said that research the firm had done indicated that 75 per cent of people who are trying out Twile no longer put any family information online through social media.

She said: “Online security is the main problem we’re tackling. Parents who want to share photos etc can do it in a secure way.

“Users only share things with family and friends who are close to them.

“They can’t share out. On Facebook, for example, friends and family can share content you post with others. We can maintain the level of security that parents need.”

Kelly said that she has found that Twile works best when she uses it regularly and it encourages her to share more of family life via the timeline.

“Every time you use it you’re building up those memories. In years to come my girls will be able to look back and see how they were while they were growing up.

“If you record them, you and your children will be able to hear how they sounded when they were three, seven or 10.

“For instance, my daughter Arabella (aged four) likes reading stories but she can’t read yet. I recorded her and was fascinated at her interpretation of what the story is. She has us in stitches.”

Kelly’s grandparents live in British Guyana in South America and they stay in touch with the girls through Skype and Twile. She said: “We keep in contact that way. It’s perfect for them to see how the family are doing.”

Eventually the site may be linked to the ancestry website Find My Past, so that families could have their history as part of their timeline.

Kelly said that that the basic version of Twile will always be free to users but it is likely that families will be able to choose added content by subscribing to it.

 

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