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GroupMe: Text Messaging for Groups - a Review by About.com

Text Message Distribution Lists Are More Useful Thank You Might Think

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Perhaps you are an outgoing young person who enjoys nightclubbing. Perhaps you are a foodie with 15 friends who like exotic restaurants. Perhaps you are part of a slo-pitch or dragon boat team, or maybe an online gaming guild who needs to organize players. In each of these cases, text messaging for groups is amazingly useful.

Why Is Group Text Messaging Useful?

  • "Is our ball game canceled tonight because of the rain?"

  • "There's no parking behind the restaurant! Park two blocks north on the avenue!"

  • "We're planning on raiding the last boss tonight at 9pm. Can you be online to help?"

  • "I'm in line at the Underground Dance Club. Look for my green t-shirt in the back"

That's why group text messaging is useful: a smartphone travels with people to almost everything they do. Much more reliable than email, text messaging actually reaches people for 'transitory' types of communication that are time-sensitive. By putting group messaging into people's pocket, you can reach people for last-minute and even real-time communications.

What Is 'GroupMe' Text Messaging?

GroupMe is a relatively new free service available to desktop computers, Apple devices, Android devices, Blackberries, and Windows phones. GroupMe creates private or public 'groups' of text message participants, where each participant has the app installed on their mobile device or the page bookmarked on their computer.

Each participant installs the app and creates an account attached to an email address or cell phone number. Then with their handle-name of choice, each participant can form text message distribution lists or join existing distribution lists. These lists operate like a form of high-speed discussion forum, sharing text conversations with everyone in the group. Anyone can send a message that is viewable by everyone else in the group.

Every text message is preserved until you choose to delete/hide your own messages in the future. This way, conversations are stored for any latecomers to see. (NOTE: this can cause awkwardness if you're not careful what you censor when you invite new people to the group.)

The GroupMe app uses web data to send and receive the text messages. But you can also choose to use SMS (simple messaging service) so that you can chat from non-smartphone devices.

GroupMe also provides alarm notifications that play as sounds, or show as icons in your mobile device screen.

Who Should Use GroupMe?

  • Sports teams: football, ultimate disc, soccer, slo-pitch, rugby, dragon boat paddlers: this is how you can communicate rain-outs and changes to the practice sites.

  • College fraternities and clubs: GroupMe is ideal for coordinating the spontaneity of youthful fun and play.

  • Groups of friends: coordinate your evenings, dinners, nightclub excursions, and more.

  • Festival/concert goers: if you and your pals are attending a big music event, group text messaging is extremely useful for communicating amidst the loudness.

So: GroupMe Is Basically a Discussion Forum for My Smartphone?

Yes, GroupMe is a type of discussion forum. People can join and leave private groups, in much the same way they get invited to or choose to leave an online forum. But GroupMe goes a step further an offers direct messaging, the option to have silent notifications or none at all, GPS location tagging, message 'like' voting', and most of all: no advertising (for now).

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