Q: A family member sent me an invite to start using the Marco Polo app, so what should I know before I get involved?
This question was answered on December 1, 2022. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
We all have so many ways to communicate already that committing to another tool may seem pointless, but Marco Polo may be worth considering.
Marco Polo is a video chat app that’s like a walkie-talkie conversation instead of a live session. Much like text messaging, you can send and respond to video chats when it’s convenient.
It was originally created to communicate with friends and family that were in other countries, many time zones ahead.
During the pandemic, it became a popular way to stay in touch in a more personal way than texting or trying to find a mutually feasible time to connect via one of the many live video tools like Facetime or Zoom.
While it’s certainly possible to send video messages via text message, those videos will be commingled with all your other text messages. Video length and quality can also be limited when sending them via text message depending on which type of phone each party is using.
Marco Polo keeps all your video chats together, so it’s easy to keep track of your conversations with each person without the need to go searching through a long string of text messages.
We have all sent or been sent a text message that was misconstrued because they can’t convey tone or emotions accurately even when you include emojis.
Sending a video message allows the recipient to see facial expressions, tone, emotions, gestures, and body language which can make the message much more meaningful.
Easier To Use
One of the most common comments from fans of Marco Polo is that it’s so simple that older, less tech-savvy users have no problem learning how to use it.
Inviting a friend or family member is as easy as typing in their phone number to see if they are already on the platform and if not, it will send an invitation with a link to download the app.
As with text messages, the only one that can see the video is the person you send it to, so it’s not like Facebook or Instagram, but more like a version of Snapchat that doesn’t automatically delete the videos.
Families that use Marco Polo create a group with everyone to send and view the videos sent via the family group.
It can also be useful for groups that need to collaborate on a project that would benefit from the use of video to show or explain things without having to schedule a specific time for everyone to collaborate.
One of the first things that the app offers to do is upload your contacts to their servers so you can see your friends and family that are already using the platform.
Some have a problem with sharing all their contacts, so they don’t allow this and manually add the people they want to chat with by searching for their phone numbers.
Once you’ve set up your account, anyone searching for your phone number can find you to start chatting, so if you want to try the app in a stealthy way, consider using a free Google Voice number (https://voice.google.com/) instead of your personal number.
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on December 1, 2022