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Using Ponga to Share Travel Stories

If you’ve ever heard that distinctive sound of slides advancing in a Carousel slide projector, read on…

Are you old enough to remember being subjected to the “slideshow”? Maybe subjected is a tad too harsh… let's go with “presented.” Old Uncle Derrick’s road trip from Montreal to Disney World in Florida… all nicely and chronologically organised on the slide carousel of the projector.

If you were born before 1975… I’m thinking you know this story.

An old slide projector on a chair with a bright light
The lights go down and the projector starts up.

Lights go down, you’re told to hush, you might learn something you’re told, and then it starts… The sound of the projector fan comes on and click, Uncle D begins his travel monologue, each slide being moved forward with a remote! A remote… how novel.

By the time Uncle D hits the mountains of Appalachia we’re all twitching, even our parents are adjusting their positions on the plastic-covered sofa, the ice in their cocktails well and truly melted.

It was going to be a long night.

This was a “show & listen” presentation

Put your hand up if a loved one has threatened you with “death by PowerPoint,” the modern update to a slide “show.” Okay… I can’t count that high, put your hands down!

The slide show might well have been the precursor to today’s social media in that sharing was elevated to a performance.

So, what is sharing?

For me, sharing is one of the most personal experiences we, as humans, can participate in. We share the food on our tables, our acquired knowledge, our secret dreams, our most treasured memories… and our own unique stories.

Treasured memories and unique stories are what hold us together as a family, and as friend groups. Going through experiences together means we share what the feelings were at the time. Anyone who experienced trauma or tragedy feels a natural bond with those who shared the experience with them. It can take years to understand shared national experiences like war or acts of terrorism.

One bathing suit, two sisters, two very different stories

Photographs, by capturing the light and mood of a moment can capture much of what was there—but not all. The stories behind the visible facts are so easily lost. This is where Ponga software comes in. Ponga creates a way to connect the dots in the image and finish each other’s stories. Taken together, a larger story develops. The little story from this picture of hand-me-downs “in action” seems like a snapshot. But it’s so much more. It plays a role in the narrative curve of the family.

Moving in that story through Ponga

Social media is incredibly useful for many things. In fact, you probably found this article because of a link on social media. But is that really about creating a connection?

Did you notice that we don’t really “share” on social media, we “post” about what we’re doing as if it were on a bulletin board?

When your cousin Jessica posts a bathing suit image of herself on vacation to Social Media does it start a conversation? Not likely. It’s more like a performance, “Look where I am, living the life.” It probably doesn’t even start a conversation the way “I wish you were here” did in old-time postcards where the cards would trigger tales when the traveler returned.

In my previous posts for the Ponga Tips blog, I’ve talked about how I use Ponga, for

  1. Bonding: I connect with my son who lives a continent away, by sharing photographs and stories about him when he was young.
  2. Reunion: I reconnect with my cousins, some of whom I’ve not talked to in over 40 years. We share old family photos, and use them to tell stories and add to each other's memories.
  3. Contextualized Research: I use Ponga to present my ancestry research and family tree with my extended family contextualized in pictures. Using such a compelling medium to share what I’ve learned, encourages them to reciprocate and share what they’ve learned.

Then, the other day it dawned on me… my travel albums would be great fun if they were interactive. They belong on Ponga too!

Ponga as an interactive travel guide: Secure and private sharing

Ponga Carousel — an interactive travel sharing opportunity

So off I went, converting the pictures I’d taken while on a trip to France a few years ago into Ponga, “Pongaporting,” as I call it. The result? See for yourself… magic…

The common thread? The shared stories found in photographs

As I’m writing this, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought domestic and international travel to a standstill. Rather than dwell on today’s limitations, I wanted to focus on what we have done already. We’ve done a lot!

…if there are pictures of it, there are stories to share.

It doesn’t matter if the trip was across the lake or overseas, if there are pictures of it, there are stories to share. I can pretty much guarantee that those stories… are going to inspire interaction and open conversations. All you need to do is share them. Ponga creates the privacy missing in social media. It also creates a safe environment that’s preserved and valued so that your family knows that their comments will matter.

Let’s get sharing and saving stories.

On a personal note: My parents would have loved this. They drew great pleasure from the travel they did in their retirement. After my own retirement, I too started traveling. Sadly, except for the occasional email, I didn’t think to share the experience with my parents. They are both gone now. How I wish I could share this with them.

So… don’t wait… get going and build some Ponga albums and share the stories of your adventures.

See more of Victoria’s articles and learn more about Ponga from articles, videos, and more in the Ponga Academy:

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Victoria's Press

Victoria's Press

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Bringing families together with historical storytelling in photo filled digital presentations, safely, securely and away from the prying eyes of social media.