Sarah and I can probably repeat the story of the 24 hours leading up to our son's birth by heart. We told the story to family and friends, and whenever our newborn got fussy we told it to him. After a few days, Sarah turned to me and pointed out that we should probably write it down somewhere, since we will eventually forget all the details. Luckily for us, we had the opportunity to test Tweekaboo, an app that acts as a virtual baby book, letting us add pictures and stories and share them with family and each other. Is it a baby book for the digital age? Read on to find out!
Tweekaboo is very easy to set up; just create a login and follow the simple prompts to add a new entry, invite your partner, share with family, etc. The website is laid out well, and doesn't suffer from excess clutter. Adding a new post is quite simple, and you can add a photo, change the date, categorize it, and share it. You can also just leave it as a virtual diary entry if you'd prefer to just leave it for you and your partner. If you have multiple children, or you want to separate your entries more clearly, you can add your children in the system and indicate which child is mentioned in the post.
There's discreet sharing options at the bottom of the screen, but you aren't smacked in the face with social networking front and center. This is important for us, since while we're ok with sharing certain things on Facebook, we aren't big on sharing every. single. detail. In fact, we didn't actually discuss the fact that we were expecting anywhere on Facebook until our son was born, simply because we figured anyone close to us already knew, and if we didn't know someone well enough to tell them, they could find out when we announced the birth. We have the same view of sharing our son's milestones; generally speaking, we'll share them with our friends, and if they make their way to Facebook, that's fine, but our first priority isn't sharing with the world. So I really love that Tweekaboo offers those options, but doesn't shove them front and center as a priority for the service.
Photos upload quickly, and you can include video as well. The diary entries themselves are simple, and I haven't encountered a word limit, so feel free to chatter away. Tweekaboo works on the web and on the iPhone. Unfortunately, there's no iPad app, so your choices are to use the iPhone app blown up to double-size or the website. The website looks much better than a stretched out app, but it runs a bit slower on my iPad. If, like me, you're an iPad user but an iPhone one, it is probably fastest to upload photos and start an entry on the app, then switch to the browser for more intensive typing and editing (assuming, like me, that you prefer landscape mode).
Tweekaboo is a fantastic idea, and overall I like it quite a bit. I have two hesitations though. One, and this goes for any service with no ads and no fees, I wonder how the company will sustain the business model long-term. Will they charge a monthly or yearly fee in the future? At the right price I think this is still a great service, but I'd want to know that. And that leads to my bigger concern, and the reason I raised the question about sustainability.
As far as I can tell, there is no way to export your diary entries. So if you want a backup of all those memories, be sure to copy and paste them somewhere else as well as Tweekaboo. They do plan on partnering with a print service in the fall to add the option to print your Tweekaboo entries, which is great, but no word yet on whether you can export the digital files for local archiving.
Edit: Tweekaboo will have their print service implemented in September, and a download option is planned for later this year, so both my concerns will be fixed by the end of the year.
OnceTweekaboo can export entries, it will be a slam-dunk service. As it stands, though, it makes a great companion way to document your family's growth and journey, especially if you are a family of iPhone users!
MSRP: Free, sign up at Tweekaboo.com
What I liked: Simple interface; great concept; sharing is an option but not mandatory; many social network choices if you do want to share
What Needs Improvement: No way to backup your entries off the Tweekaboo site (coming soon-Print in September, downloads later in the year)