Write to pen pals with charming app Slowly [App of the Week]

Relive the glories of snail mail -- when communication meant something

Slowly app

Slowly is a networking app for those yearning for the ‘good ol’ days’ back when communication meant something; when it had weight and purpose.

Slowly brings pen pals into the digital age. The free smartphone app lets you compose and send letters to other app users around the world.

The app kicks things off with setting up a simple profile. Select your gender and nickname. The app gives users a selection of several illustrated avatars to represent them. After that, it’s just a matter of setting your location and verifying that you’re a real person.

The app also asks users to select some topics and interests during profile creation to help match users with other pen pals.

After this, you’re ready to start writing. There’s a ‘Drafts’ section to work on your letters. Like a real letter, you’ll need stamps to send mail too.

Slowly stamp collection

When you sign up for Slowly, you get a few stamps automatically. You get a ‘Slowly’ generic stamp. You also get a stamp based on your birth date and one based on your device. Additionally, you’ll get a couple of stamps based on your location. For me, I got a Niagara Falls stamp and an Inuksuk stamp.

Users can collect more stamps by using Slowly when they travel. When you open the app in a new place, you can collect stamps for that location. Furthermore, there are stamps awarded for achieving certain milestones and for special events like holidays, festivals and new app features.

While Slowly is free right now, the developers plan to add new features like an in-app stamp store so users can buy new stamps.

Slowly makes it easy to find pen pals

Slowly also has robust features for finding and matching with new pen pals. You can search manually and apply filters, such as region, topics and age range.

Alternatively, Slowly offers an ‘Auto-match’ feature. Auto-match lets you set requirements for the target of your letter — like the filters, this includes topics, region and more. Then you can compose your message and hit send. Slowly will find pen pals matching your requirements and deliver your letter to them.

Tracking a letter in Slowly

Speaking of letter delivery, Slowly actually takes time to deliver letters. The app bases the time on where the recipient is. For example, one pen pal sent me a letter from the U.K. I can track the message like an Amazon package. The app says I’ll receive the letter in about 15 hours.

The idea behind the time delay is that it adds more meaning to the correspondence. It’s not an instant message or email — it takes time for the letter to get to the recipient. You have to get it right the first time around.

Overall, it’s a unique app idea that can help you connect in a new way with people around the world. You can get Slowly for free from the App Store and the Play Store.

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