‘Audio Selfie’

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.    Ralph G Nichols

There is a new app that was recently launched in the United States that records interviews. Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps discussed this idea in a TED talk. It’s called a ‘Audio Selfie.’

“Recording these interviews, I saw how the microphone gave me the opportunity to go places I might otherwise never would have gone,” says Isay, “and talk to people I might otherwise never have spoken to.”

The app is still in beta. Over the coming months, they will be working to fix the bugs and make the app more user-friendly

Over Thanksgiving 2015, history teachers across the US will ask their students to record an interview with a grandparent or elder. In a single weekend, an entire generation could be honored in this way.

It sounds like a wonderful way to connect to one another.  To realise, that there is no separation between us.  The audio recordings are giving families an opportunity to interview their loved ones with dementia, cancer or terminal illness.

It gives them a chance to speak to them, to record their feelings, and to keep this for their children’s, children.

Here is a recording of Javier Bostos who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  His heartfelt interview reminds us yet again, of our vulnerability in life.  That each moment is precious.  Let’s be reminded today.


“I remembered every moment between us, and every moment felt more precious as time passed.”    Shannon A Thompson

The ‘audio selfie’ — a different kind of interview evolves at StoryCorps


34 thoughts on “‘Audio Selfie’

    1. Thankyou David, I agree. My Dad recorded our voices us as little kids and it was such a special thing to listen to. I think we may have forgotten this simple technology.

  1. Beautiful.
    One of my assignments to students used to be to interview the oldest person in their families. Some just talked with their nana who lived in the house, which was good, but a few tracked down distant relatives they hadn’t met. They searched for stories. The results were amazing.
    I also had students track down the story of how their families came to the US. For some it was very easy – they were the ones who’d come. Some heard for the first time how their great-grandparents came. I even got to meet a woman who came across from Mexico in a whisky barrel on the back of a horse-drawn wagon in the early 1900s!
    Such stories are so very important for all of us.
    I hope the Thanksgiving break project is wildly successful.

    1. How amazing Emilie! These stories warm our hearts and help us to re-connect to the wisdom from our past. This helps us all. Thankyou for sharing your experience with us.

  2. Back in 1969, I was 12 and part of a special school project where I interviewed my grandmother (on a reel to reel tape recorder!). It was wonderful learning about her early years (born in 1898) going from horse drawn wagons to automobiles, radios and telephones. It was amazing and connected me to her in a way I hadn’t explored before. I’ll never forget it.

    1. Such a great story Eliza. I love that you were able to do that. You will always have that memory, and I think that is why we should make an effort today. Thankyou for sharing.

    1. Thankyou Don. It is funny how this simple technology comes around again. I can see that my children will benefit from using this. 🙂 Hope you are enjoying your summer in London. 🙂

  3. What a great app. It has lots of potential to bring people closer together, to preserve memories, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  4. We still have a sweet recording of my eldest daughter’s voice saved on our computer, having been transferred from one computer to the next several over the past many years. Her simple sentence: “I wanna seep on da touch.” Translation: I want to sleep on the couch. It was the first audio recording my husband recorded after we’d bought our first home computer. I can hear her voice right now. She just sent a text message, but somehow it’s just not the same as a voice. Smile Calm is spot on with his comment about the humanistic use of technology. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. It is special to have these moments recorded of our children. You are right eM, it’s not the same as a text message. Perhaps that is why we have the need to come back to the connection of our voice and our heart.

  5. Being heard is so healing, I agree. And not just heard, but listened to–and understood:). Now that’s nirvana. We could heal so much in the world if only all felt they were seen and heard.

  6. Just got around to reading and listening to this post, Karen. Gave me such a lump in my throat. I have always loved StoryCorps–it’s one of those programs that keeps me pinned in place until it has concluded. This app is such an interesting evolution..a beautiful way for people to connect. Thank you for sharing–this information and this connection with all of us through your blog. Hugs, Lori

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