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myStory.com - an online autobiography for everyone

myStory is a portal that allows people (including elderly) to create a biography of their life in a easy and convenient way. As a gift to love ones, myStory addresses the need for people to make sense of their lives as they draw near to the end.

Photo of Eugene Yap
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As people age and become more acutely aware that the end is drawing near, they may have a desire to somehow make sense of their journey and to leave something more permanent behind for their loved ones.  Famous people usually have someone write their biography, but for the average person, that process is probably too expensive and complicated.  Although many elderly people have started participating in social networks, the format of these social networks are not inherently structured in a way that makes sense as a biography.  Social networks tend to be a mash of photos, random thoughts and some personal details.  myStory on the other hand, provides a structured template that is designed to help people express their journey in life and their true and deepest thoughts as they come to terms with death.  By having different templates, the portal caters to both novices as well as advanced users of IT, allowing every single person to write their own biography before they pass on.  The biography can be kept private, with an electronic queue given to a loved one who can unlock it upon the death of a person.  myStory can also be linked together in a family tree, allowing the history and genealogy of a family to be preserved generation after generation.

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

Have a couple of famous people use the portal to create their own stories. People will be curious, read about those stories, and be inspired to create their own. It can also be offered as a form of therapy to patients who are severely or terminally ill, allowing them to document their thoughts as they go through this difficult time. Since this is an online platform, it can go global from day one.

How might your idea attract and involve partners from health care, business, government, nonprofit or other sectors?

Healthcare providers can offer this as a form of therapy. In fact, family of the elderly person can chip in to help complete the biography, making it a form of bonding and joint activity that takes the focus away from dying.

How might you design an early experiment or prototype to further develop your idea?

Get some elderly people together, give them materials to piece together a story of their lives. If they get excited and engaged in the process, and derive satisfaction from the end result, than the concept of myStory is validated.

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Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Eugene, I'm loving this storytelling tool you've created! To carry the autobiography idea a bit further: what if there were a way for people to print their stories and have them hard-bound, like a book? I'm also excited about the idea that it connects to ancestry registries or family trees to show a person's life in context with their family's.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

This is great. I think that being online will allow this portal to spread rapidly. I do wonder, though, if it makes sense to add some explicit offline elements as well? I love your idea of healthcare providers using this as a form of therapy — maybe it's worth directly encouraging elders to come together in person in various ways to write their autobiographies. In addition, perhaps the portal can have a feature that allows family members to easily upload an offline piece of writing onto the online portal, since some elderly people might be uncomfortable writing on a computer?

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Photo of Eugene Yap
Team

Hey Ashley, yes, absolutely. should be a service to print a physical book based on the online version.

Hey Annie, again, yes, absolutely. I think family members should be able to contribute content as well. Content can be in the form of pictures, videos, scanned images etc... However, the differentiation of myStory from Facebook is that these content should follow a structured flow that makes sense from a biography perspective. Otherwise, it will just be a mash of information like we already have on social networks.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Awesome, Eugene – and I can imagine the myStory site could have a section of featured posts to inspire others. There could also be a way of encouraging intergenerational activity with younger folks helps older ones out to create posts?

Actually, I did this with my father a few years back (in hid mid 80s) He's lived a rich life, had heaps of great old photos and had also been writing about his life. I looked at the writing and thought... wow this stuff is gold! So I asked him if he'd be ok about me setting up a blog for him. He didn't know what that was ;^) We worked together to spilt his writing up into posts (we didn't worry about the order but went more for discreet, engaging stories), I gave them a light edit and a title, we selected photos to go with each piece and over time I uploaded them. It was a total hit, especially posts set in historical India. I promoted it on Twitter and Facebook and before long all sorts of people were reading it (including a Bollywood star and renowned Indian professor) My Dad was completely blown away and it gave him an 'energy injection' – in my mother's words ;^) Unfortunately the blog was on Posterous which has since closed down and I haven't had the chance to migrate it elsewhere. But my big point is that this process really brought us together. I recommended it to a couple of other friends who got their kids to do something similar with their grandparents.

Lots of opportunities on this idea, Eugene. Perhaps you might try out an initial prototype with a senior or two that you know, using an existing blogging platform? It's amazing how an idea can flourish through trying it out in a small way.

Spam
Photo of Carole
Team

Great idea Eugene. To build upon Annie's comment, I think it could be good to think about ways to involve elderly that are not very familiar to technology... Maybe they could record their stories on audio/video so that they don't have to type it down with a computer? Or during in-person meetings someone could write it on their behalf?

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Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Really like the idea of an autobiography tool. Kudos to you Eugene!

Another way to utilize this tool could be create “Pick Me Up” snippets for the community, providing them inspiration to face challenges of everyday life.

The elderly, by virtue of their age, have amassed huge wealth of valuable insights and life experience. Most of them have been there and done that, experiencing and overcoming tumultuous life challenges with grace. Their stories could possibly serve as inspiration for people in the community who are also facing similar obstacles in their lives.

These “Pick Me Up” snippets could be short extracts from their autobiographies (written, video or audio recordings as suggested by Carole), classified into various themes such as Relationships, Work, Family, Love, among others, coupled with basic profiles to introduce the elderly behind the stories. These snippets could be made social media friendly to facilitate exposure via social media platforms such as Facebook and enabled for downloading at NFC enabled points in public places, allowing for even deeper community penetration.

People who download and view these “Pick Me Ups” will be able to like and share it with friends, and leave comments as per current social media posts. These statistics will be tracked updated to the respective elderly to see how many people they have touched and inspired.

Through this, social interaction between the community and the elderly as a whole increases and the elderly may enjoy better mental and spiritual well being, seeing that they are able to touch the lives of others through their stories.

Spam
Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Tip: as your thinking around this idea grows, you can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right. If you'd like to acknowledge the collaborative input of others in the evolution of your concept, you have the option to add them to your Virtual Team: http://bit.ly/oi-teams Creativity loves company!

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