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January 06, 2016 - No Comments!

iOS Update has arrived

Amazing TalkLifers,

The latest iOS update has finally been approved after Apple came back from Holidays. We think you're going to love it. The team have worked really hard over the last few months to bring you some really nice new TalkLife features and we've made improvements to some of the old.

Some of the features you'll notice straight away. We now have fast reactions on posts - this was something we've been testing for a while. Many of our members asked us how they could interact without always having to write a comment or give a gift, so we added the option to post fast reactions.  Android users have had for a while and have given us great feedback.

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December 17, 2015 - No Comments!

It’s Almost Christmas TalkLife!

From all of the team at TalkLife we would like to thank you for making incredible 2015, it's been our privilege and honor to serve you and the TalkLife community!!

We want to wish you the very best for the coming holidays however you're spending them. We'll be here all holiday if you need to chat or have time to spread some Christmas cheer.

Much Love - From all of the TalkLife Team

December 02, 2015 - No Comments!

Hello from TalkLife’s newest team member – Scotty!

As the newest TalkLife team member I thought I’d say hello and tell you a little more about myself. It’s been quite an interesting journey for me before joining TalkLife, but don’t worry I’ll only include the interesting stuff.  

Scott Cycling 2

Growing up in Australia in the 70’s and 80’s, to parents with extreme marital difficulties to say the least, I got an early education into mental health with my mother being quite unwell. When my dad finally separated from my mum, I was 15 years old and instantly became the man-of-the-house, charged with taking care of my mum. My little sister ran away from home, engaging in all sorts of risk behaviours of drugs and sex. As I was now responsible for the welfare of a very unwell mum, I couldn’t engage in typical teenage behaviour, instead I needed to be home on time, responsible and reliable. Years later, through prolonged sessions of therapy, I was correctly identified as a ‘parentified child’, where the child adopts the role of the responsible parent and the parent the opposite. This was quite a lot of responsibility for a young man trying to juggle school, a girlfriend and sport. I’m proud to say that I managed to handle this and finished my final exams getting the best marks in the school, although it was tough – I was bullied throughout high school for being a ‘nerd’.

Upon leaving school I became a Christian and studied for a brief period in the ministry, to become a Baptist Minister. I also married my school sweetheart at this time, aged 22. At that age I thought I knew everything, how wrong I was.

Well, I didn’t survive the biblical studies for very long, being a constant questioner and found my way to more traditional studies of philosophy and psychology. It was here that I found that psychology was fascinating to study, particularly neuropsychology, so I graduated with honours and made my way to the world of work. I worked exclusively with people who were severely injured in motor vehicle accidents, who sustained acquired brain injuries. The work was exhausting and upsetting, seeing people at their lowest and most injured, unable to walk, speak or remember someone’s name for more than 30 seconds. I recall feeling drained at the end of the days, so sorry for how my patients ended up that way and how excruciating it was for their families to see their son, father, husband, daughter no longer the person they once knew.

From there I worked in a variety of clinical environments, always assessing and making recommendations for injured people, as well as some time as a Policy Advisor in the Australian public sector, before moving to management in the healthcare industry. Since then I have always managed health care professionals, from Doctors, Nurses, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, as I found that I had more to give to teams of healthcare professionals than individual patients.  

In 2006 my wife and I made a decision which dramatically changed my life, to leave the comfort of Australia, to go the UK. London was incredible, cosmopolitan, exhausting, fascinating. We travelled so much, using London as a base, exploring Europe and the Middle East.

Unfortunately, leaving the comfort and support network of friends in Australia, our 12 year marriage dissolved within a year of living in London. It was a painful time, learning to be on my own again. Who was I? What did I like? What did I want to do? For the previous 12 years all those decisions were joint-based with my wife. I literally had to invent an identity for myself, which is tougher than you think. I had some support from new friends who endured my middle of the night texts, where I was anxious and desperate to know that things would be ok. I was away from family in Australia, so my support network was very limited. I also didn’t want to burden new friends with my overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety about the future. I wish there had been something like TalkLife back then.

Throughout 2007 and 2008, I started to learn who I was, taking time out from work to travel across North America and the much of the Middle East. I explored different cultures, tried things I’d never tried before, did stuff that my ex-wife would never have approved of, and for the first time, really started to feel that things would be ok, that I can take my time to find my new place in the world, live anywhere I wanted and do anything I wanted. It was scary and exciting. To this day I continue to travel, most recently through much of India.

Since then, I’ve held some amazing jobs working with insurers and health & wellbeing companies, always looking to improve the lives of injured or unwell policy holders, motorists, employees, members of the public. I’ve been exposed to some great corporate thinkers who proved to me that you can run a company, make profit, and treat injured or unwell people extremely well and that the benefits of getting it right can be massive.

Scott Cycling 1And so I’ve found my way to TalkLife. It’s the most amazingly supportive community and I can only say that I wish there had been something like it when I was being bullied at school and again when I separated from my wife. My role will be to connect TalkLife users with counsellors and therapists. This will be for users who may benefit from even more support than that provided already. This new service is called TalkLife Connect – which will be launching soon. I think its going to be amazing, we are going to break all the barriers of traditional therapy by allowing users to instant message with a therapist in their own time, at their own pace, without needing referrals from doctors, without a confronting face to face session. The service isn’t free though and is only going to be available to over 18’s, but will be ground breaking.

Profile copy - SlackReflecting on what I thought I knew at age 23, compared to what I know now age 43, having travelled so far and experienced so much, I know that there’s still so much to learn, so many more mistakes to make, people to help and places to go. London is still home, but the world is my doorstep. Oh and I’m mad about road cycling too, forgot to mention that!

 


If you haven’t heard of TalkLife, it’s where you find friends and a place to belong. There’s a huge community of people like you, who understand. Download for free on your Apple or Android device.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, and potentially at risk of self harm or suicide, it is important to seek professional help NOW. Click here for links to emergency help.

 

September 26, 2015 - No Comments!

TalkLife Messaging – I’ve heard you!

Hey TalkLifers!

Today I'm really excited to give you a glimpse of our new TalkLife messaging platform. I have heard your pains, read your emails and i've taken all the feedback seriously.

TalkLife's existing messaging system was amazing when we launched. With the increase in users and changes to the existing stack we've found all sorts of problems scaling the messaging app – so we've been planning a rebuild from the ground up.

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July 29, 2014 - 5 comments

Update From Jamie.

Hi TalkLifers,

I'm really excited to be writing to you today. I'm going to announce some of our next steps in our TalkLife journey.

Hopefully in a few days time we will be launching version 4.3 of TalkLife for iOS.  I'm really pumped and proud to get this version up and into the app stores... but i'm also quite nervous.

Version 4.3 is packed with features and updates including a much cleaner user interface and a new trigger warning system allowing us to remove posts you may find triggering. You'll find more instant help services for faster support and a special category for those who need help but haven't had a response yet.

 

Today I'd like to chat about our SuperTalker upgrade. 

We're finally about to turn it back on and I would like you to know exactly what to expect.

For the last few years TalkLife has been completely free (plus a little bit of advertising) and an option to donate if users could manage. While every donation was amazing and appreciated, as many of you know it barely covered 5% of our ever expanding running costs.

As our savings have been rapidly depleting and we're now full time on TalkLife as volunteers we knew something needed to change to keep us afloat.

So our team got together late last year and discussed all of the options moving forward. Our core mission has always been to provide an incredible free platform that could grow as needed in order to help thousands of young adults around the globe without restriction.

The two options on the table were to setup as a non-profit and hope that we could raise government funding from our primary countries, Australia, the United Kingdom & the United States, or we could have a crack and create a sustainable business model that would provide a consistent revenue stream into the future and give us a lot more certainty.

While government funding seemed like an easy place to go, when we delved deeper and spoke with government members it became clear that governments like Australia were putting less money into mental health organisations and there are many, many groups fighting for the few available grants.

So we decided to create the SuperTalker upgrade at a once off $4.99. This would allow engaged users who could afford to give back the option to donate and receive cool unlocks and features like chat and messaging without taking anything away from the free service.

On launch in December 2013 we sold 1550 SuperTalkers and it appeared to be quite successful - aside from a few bugs, users appreciated the additional features.

I quickly noticed however that the messaging platform most users were upgrading to unlock simply wasn't good enough. It had bugs and the chat wasn't holding up to the high level of usage.

After much discussion and feedback from users I decided to turn off the upgrade and without altering our code we limited the ability to find the in-app purchase or the links. I thought it's better to hold off upgrading than users being charged for a far from perfect service.

After six months of solid planning and work redeveloping the upgrade I believe we're almost ready to turn it back on!

 

The NEW SuperTalker!

The new SuperTalker upgrade will give users the chance to share more about themselves through a range of customisable profile options. We're giving TalkLifers the chance to further engage the community with a new 'My Story' section. You'll also be able to upload additional photos or a gif avatar. Plus users can now earn badges for helping others within the app highlighting our SuperUsers.

With the additional photo uploads we've also taken new security measures giving users the ability to flag profiles, hide users from the feed and moderators will be able to reset photos we deem inappropriate.

The new SuperTalker will have a 7-day trial period giving you a chance to have a play and see if it's worthwhile or not. Of course every feature users are used to will remain completely 100% free. While i'm in charge of TalkLife we're going to keep it this way.

So how much is this new upgrade going to cost? Well i'm putting the whole upgrade up for a monthly subscription at US$0.99. I know to many this is a lot of money to some but it gives users who want to engage further and give back a real chance to do so.

I want to make it really clear that we need to charge for this service in order to keep the lights on at TalkLife. Developing apps costs thousands of dollars every month and this really is the only way TalkLife can move forward and keep the doors open (or the servers on).

I believe this upgrade is worth far more than the monthly $0.99 and I really hope you see value and understand why we're doing this. Not only will it improve your Talklife experience, but you'll be helping us provide a platform that is helping thousands of people every day.

For existing SuperTalkers, I really want to honour the commitment and donation you've previously made to us. I'm going to give all existing SuperTalkers a 12 month pass to the new SuperTalker upgrade.

I always love hearing your feedback and i'd especially like to hear from you on this. If you have the time please send me an email jd@talklife.com.au I'll do my very best to respond to every email. Please don't ask me for a free upgrade (I'm not going to be able to do this although I would love to).

 

The Other News...

In other news, i'll be moving from Australia across to London for a while! TalkLife has been giving an amazing opportunity to take part in a program under Bethnal Green Ventures. With investment from Bethnal Green and support with SuperTalker I honestly believe we can create a more professional platform and help many more young people around the world to connect and share.

I would personally like to thank every person involved in TalkLife. We have a large team of developers and supporters around the globe who do their very best to keep the service running.

Jacob White, our incredible designer slaves over pixels in the early hours of the morning before his day job and his beautiful wife Penny has been a tremendous support.

Andrew Montesi our PR manager handles your tweets and all those tricky interviews and communications. Andrew is literally pushing himself harder than he should over the last few months working across three jobs while raising a beautiful family with Hannah & Frankie.

My final thank you would be to our incredible volunteer moderators and admin team, without you we simply couldn't do what we do. While this is probably my weakest area, our moderators show incredible diligence to filter through thousands of posts every day to keep our application safe. Kart is my solid rock, some nights she checks through flags in the early hours of the morning between sleep, between work and I know she cares deeply about all of you.

TalkLifers I want you to know that you are the reason we keep fighting. This application is designed for you to share in times of need. It's your application. Without you and our incredible community we wouldn't have an application. Yes I know we have many flaws but together we can create something incredible.

Lots of Love, JD XX

large_jamie

January 23, 2014 - 2 comments

Why we released the Kraken.

Hey TalkLife friends and family,

I wanted to touch base and share some of the successes and chat through some of the technical hiccups we've had over the last few weeks.

Last week we launched our new 4.2 update and predominately, it's been a big success. We managed to get our loading times down to a few seconds across most countries and to the delight of most users, we flicked the switch on the chat service for all users paid or unpaid.

One of the features we introduced in version 4.2 was a stronger account registration process. This helps us to protect the application from fake users signing up from multiple fake email accounts.

The service in theory would prompt users via email to activate their accounts after signing up. However pretty quickly this became a dog's breakfast. While our TalkLife systems worked like a charm, the email client (Mandrill) struggled to push out the emails through fast enough, in some cases it was taking five to six hours before users would receive the notice.

So we kinda lost a few thousand new users as they couldn't activate their accounts...yeah you can imagine our teams reaction when we discovered the bug. Actually for a few hours I considered retirement in a dark cave, or a setting up camp on a deserted island.

We quickly responded to the Mandrill bug however, in our haste, we actually created another bug that would email users a new password confirmation or a password retrieval notice every time they updated their profiles. This was the moment we summoned Megazord... he didn't arrive.

As we sorted out the code we needed to switch off the anonymous user function and reset a few backend features. This is why for a few of you the chat history is missing at the moment.

It's been a roller-coaster of a week for our team and terribly embarrassing with so many accounts affected. On the positive note, these issues are being caused because TalkLife is growing quickly with tons of new users coming through but frustratingly, we've been slow to keep up.

We have spoken with our amazing server providers Crucial Australia about additional servers to cover us during the peak periods and the expansion of new users. Hopefully these will come online over the next week.

Friends, I wanted to share this with you because TalkLife is your application. We built this for you and I know there is nothing more infuriating that having an application that doesn't work correctly.

I really hope you can look past these bugs and stay with us! As a community of volunteers we really need your support to keep TL functioning as a positive and safe environment that actually stands far apart from other social networks.

Please leave your feedback below, I'm going to be online tonight and happy to answer any questions you may have.

Again we thank you for your patience and support.

 

Jamie Druitt
Founder // TalkLife