Trial Run of GroupMe for Messaging and Scheduling

Folk, I’d like to try using GroupMe for a couple of weeks for all communication and scheduling for the Thursday Night Dice group. If we have a good experience, we’ll then try it out with the Saturday Night Dice group. If we all still like it after a month, we’ll consider switching over from Meetup to instead use GroupMe.

Until further notice, please respond to BOTH GroupMe and Meetup invites for Thursday Night Games.

Background

We’ve been using Meetup for over a year and although at the time it was the best featured product on the market for community scheduling, there’s been an ongoing complaint from a few about getting calendar notices for campaigns that folks are not in (this is a limitation with how Meetup works). This past week I had a chance to use the GroupMe app all weekend long at PAX Unplugged to chat with my fellow Expo attendees. It was a great experience. GroupMe does everything that SMS Chat does, but it (in my opinion) does it better).

General Observations

GroupMe works essentially like SMS text messages, but it is reliable (Meetup is not), and has a nice Desktop version you can use in your PC web browser. You can have real-time chats that integrate well with calendars and polls. I do think this will give us better engagement, and will let us segment calendars, polls, and chats to individual campaigns. The key downsides of GroupMe are that (1) it has powerful features, but it takes a bit of tweaking to ‘tune’ message notifications, (2) calendaring is more convenient for users, but a bit more tedious to GMs to set up, and (3) there won’t be one ‘global’ view of the calendar, so we’ll have to be extra careful not to schedule games over each other.

All in all though I still am willing to give it a try. (Google+ is still not an option; on iOS Google+ no longer has Events as an option).

Getting Started

Probably the easiest is to just follow the link I will email you (if you’re in the Thursday Night Dice group).

Alternatively:

  • On your desktop, visit GroupMe.com and register for a free account (if you don’t have one already).
  • On your phone, install the GroupMe app.

Getting To the Calendar and Polls

The one thing that isn’t intuitive (it’s a bit like Snapchat in some regards) is getting to the group ‘Menu’). Simply click on the icon of the group once you’re in it at the top right of the screen.

Feature Comparison

Stuff Meetup Does Better than GroupMe

  • Recurring calendar events
  • Waitlist Support
  • Guest Support (you can allow folks to add 0 guest, or maybe 2 guests for example)
  • Website integration (shows calendar on Dicehaven.com; not possible with GroupMe)
  • Month-view of calendar events (it appears this feature will disappear on Meetup after their new software update)
  • Sync with Google Calendar (GroupMe can do Google Calendar sync but it requires https://ifttt.com/connect/google_calendar/groupme app and looks complicated)

Stuff GroupMe Does Better

  • Free with unlimited groups
  • Segment multiple groups with each group having its own calendar events and messaging (we could have 4 or 8 sub-groups, with a specific group for each campaign, plus groups for things like Lone Star Game Expo planners)
  • Configure email reminders for events to be for custom days/times before event
  • Better, realtime chat notifications (Meetup’s are unreliable)
  • Mute Notifications for One Group or All Groups
  • Office Mode (notifications will not be sent to group members in order to minimize distractions)

Key GroupMe FAQs

Also see all the GroupMe FAQs.

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