Why You Should Be Using Group.Me

Originally posted on BRC+.

One of my favorite services for both professional and personal use is Group.me, a group texting service. If you have not tried it, it is a game-changer.

The nitty-gritty

  • Sign up for an account.
  • Create a group and you’ll be assigned a group phone number.
  • Add people’s mobile numbers to the group*.
  • When anyone in the group texts to that group number, it shows up as a conversation thread among everyone and not separate texts between individuals. (see the convo to the right between my kids and I when I was travelling)

How you might use it . . .

  • Staff: for ongoing and emergency conversations;
  • Parents: for youth groups, scouts etc. it is great to let parents know when a group is arriving home, communicate pick-ups, etc.
  • Family: for ongoing family communication so there are no kids accidently left at school because one parent though the other was going to pick her up. Not that I know that that;s like ūüėČ
  • Friend Groups: for conferences or trips where a group of people need to stay connected.

Group.me can be used via a smart phone, sms or online, so everyone can use it. It’s very simple to set up and most folks can figure it it out pretty quickly.

Seriously. Start using this.

*GETTING STARTED TIP: If you are setting this up for your group, be sure to shift to office mode so everyone does not get notified EVERY time someone is added. After you add everyone, switch back and ask everyone to reply at least once. By doing this, people see what it looks like on their device AND they confirm their membership. If they do not send a message with the first day or so, they will be automatically dropped from the group.

A Review of the Neighborhood Social Media Site Nextdoor.com

Neighborhood Garage Sale Day!

I may have mentioned www.nextdoor.com in the past, but I wanted to hold off on my recommendation until I actually used it for a bit. If you have not heard of Nextdoor, it is essentially a private social media site that is made up of your ACTUAL neighbors.

Weird right? Yes, a way to interact with your ACTUAL, geographic, humanoid neighbors.

I have been a member now for almost a year and was initially invited by a friend of a friend whom I happened to meet working on a local¬†political¬†campaign. At first, I was a little¬†skeptical¬†because your Nextdoor profile is based on your actual address. And while I know that finding a person’s address is not that difficult, I certainly do not want to help anyone find out where my family and I rest our heads at night.

Simply put, I was won over by the verification process. After going through the account activation process which includes a combination of identity checks, I have fairly certain that people are who they say they are and live where they say they live. Of course, there is ALWAYS a chance that this kind of info can be abused, but after using it for a while, this concern has been alleviated for me.

So, why am I recommending Nextdoor?

While there have been a few instances of people sharing things that are not quite neighborhood specific, concerns were quickly addressed. In the end, about 90% of what is shared and talked about, I actually want to know about:

  • EVENTS – This summer our¬†neighborhood¬†used Nextdoor to coordinate a huge¬†garage¬†sale (pictured above). There were about 60 houses that ended up¬†participating¬†and I have no doubt that Nextdoor played a huge part in increasing the number of households. We have also used it for announcements about¬†neighborhood¬†meetings, block parties, service¬†referrals, etc.
  • SAFETY¬†– Every community will have people who are a little too eager to get all up into people’s bidness, but when it comes to¬†safety¬†issues and crime, I have found the posts very helpful. I have been alerted to waves of home¬†break-ins, scammers coming to homes, crime locations, etc. I have found them in no way alarmist, but shared as general info to factor in as we live and move in our neighborhood.
  • PETS – I know this one seems a little less important to some, but each time I see a “Have you seen my lost X?” post, I watch out a little more. Also, few months ago, we were also alerted to a¬†coyote sighting and an attack on a cat. After this, we were extra careful about leaving our small dog outside.
  • COMMUNITY – Overall, the best thing about Nextdoor has been that I have felt a little more connected to my local community. Meeting folks via Nextdoor and then eventually person has further connected me with the actual people who live right around us.

Of course there are still some questions to be raised as Nextdoor grows:

  • How will the info –¬†referrals,¬†recommendations, etc – ¬†not get¬†watered¬†down?
  • How will transitions work when people move?
  • How will neighbor conflicts be moderated?
  • When trolls get in, what happens?

I will say that in the few threads that I have been a part of, it appears as if the Nextdoor folks are genuinely interested in getting feedback from those who are using it currently. Again, a plus.

So at this point, I am comfortable now recommending this site for your use. Below are some of the links that you may want to check out and use as you get started. Let me know how it goes and enjoying meeting those other humans that live near you called your neighbors ūüėČ

  • MY PROFILE¬†– Just see what folks will see.
  • JOIN HERE¬†– If you use this link to sign up, I move if the “Top Inviters List” Woohoo! There is no gain for me other than social media ego strokes. *smh*
  • THIS LINK¬†–¬†Because Nextdoor is still relatively new, not all neighborhoods have started groups, so if you start one, we both get a $50 Starbucks card.

In the end, I have experienced Nextdoor as a catalyst for our neighborhood to begin acting like an actual . . . neighborhood. If you decide to join, I that you too will find it as useful as I have.