“BTW, you guys rock. We’re using GroupMe to communicate amongst parents of kids riding a school bus from the UWS down to the LES. It’s exactly what we were looking for.”—Our favorite support email to date.
Sean Quinn is a writer for Hack College. He was previously the Vice President, Marketing and Media Relations and Community Blogger for Teens in Tech, a Silicon Valley-based start-up that provided technology opportunities for pre-teens and teenagers.
Last week, Shep wrote about the new text message-based group collaboration tool - GroupMe - and he gave some examples on how it could be used for a positive, productive environment.
I tried to emulate that example by using GroupMe to communicate with my pledge brothers at my fraternity. Bad idea. There was a lack of foresight on my part - spamming people during a SEC rivalry football game where alcohol was involved? Whoops. Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Keep your group small. We use GroupMe at HackCollege for our writers - there’s less than ten of us. My pledge class? Over twenty. Keeping your signal-to-noise ratio high is a big deal, and the more members you add, the more noise you get.
Make sure the members know what they’re in for. For some, a group texting system can be incredibly important. For others, it’s an opportunity to spam and chat worse than a teenage girl on an instant messaging system. State your purpose for the GroupMe clearly.
Share the other commands with the members. GroupMe has various commands that allow members to join, leave, and mute conversations - these can be beneficial if someone starts to spam or if someone just can’t receive text messages at a time. Make sure your other members know them.
Know when it’s working, and when it’s not. Our fraternity GroupMe lasted about twelve hours. Perhaps it was twelve hours too long, but if it went longer than twelve hours, the group would have grown even more frustrated and I’d have to deal with more than just angry text messages and verbal barbs. Know when to say when, and how to seek alternatives.
GroupMe is a positive tool, and one that can greatly increase productivity, but just make sure you’re read it right.
GroupMe would like to give a shout out to Dennis Kwon and Matt Ward. Dennis and Matt stumbled into our Hacking war-room room just as we were getting started. The two were looking for a project to work on and were really excited by the idea. We spent the next 18 hours getting to know each other, building, teaching/learning from each other, and trying to get Matt’s computer to run Rails (why was that so hard!?). Both are great guys and we wish them the best as they finish up their educations.
Matt is finishing his BA at Columbia and just wrapped up an internship at YouTube this summer. He can be found surfing, tweeting, and on the web.
Dennis was a developer at Yahoo! and LaLa. He’s currently finishing his MBA at Columbia Business School and looking for his next entrepreneurial endeavor. Go follow Dennis on Twitter!
As long as you and your friends can text message, you can be part of, create, and manage groups. No smartphone necessary! Just go to our website, enter your phone number, and create your group.
Save your group to your phonebook! Every group gets its own unique phone number that lasts as long as you want it to. This means that you can save each group to your contact list as “Family,” “Co-Workers,” “Football buddies,” or whatever you want!
Call your group! Since each group has its own unique phone number, you can start a conference call with your group. Just call the phone number and it will automatically start a conference call with everyone in your group.
Families: Set up a group for your family and never miss a dinner!
Friends: Organize your college buddies and keep everyone up to date on what’s happening. Need to figure out which soccer-mom is bringing snacks? A group can help you do that.
Study groups and classes: There’s no better way to coordinate!
Activities: On a softball team? Set up a group! Play in a band? Set up a group! Do anything with a group of people on a consistent basis? Set up a group!
Co-Workers: Work on a team? GroupMe can help you. Need to organize a group of people for a work project? GroupMe will make life easy. Emergency at the office? Send one message on GroupMe to fill everyone in.
Events: Going to a show with a group of people? Set up a group! A night out on the town? GroupMe. Weekend vacation with friends? GroupMe.
The options are endless! Whenever you want to be in touch with the groups of people in your life that matter to you, GroupMe is here for you.