So this past week was pretty hectic and I didn’t quite have time to visit a coffee shop, but I will be sure to visit and review one over the next week. For my blog this week, I decided to discuss GroupMe!
When you say “let’s start a GroupMe” to a group of people working on a project now, the typical response is a “sigh”. Why is there so much hate towards GroupMe? Mostly, the hate stems from people being overwhelmed by the number of notifications and constant phone buzzing. Although the mobile application enables these long, often unnecessary conversations, it does a great job connecting groups of people. I think the solution may be to form better groups for the GroupMes or to have some sort of GroupMe etiquette, but that’s not the point of this post.
GroupMe started in 2010 (it was acquired by Skype, which was later acquired by Microsoft) and has really taken off since then. GroupMe is very similar to other messaging apps, but is focused primarily around group conversations. To facilitate this, it has a few useful and fun features, including the ability to “heart” messages in the group, an auto meme builder when you upload a photo to the group, and a gallery of all past media uploaded to the group. You can also control the way you receive notifications and if you want notifications at all.
GroupMe has evolved over time and in their latest upgrade, they have released a Calendar feature. It is a simple way to make events within a group of people. For example, I like to keep up with my high school friends who all attend different colleges. We try to plan a couple of events during the year (usually during winter break or before we go back to school in the fall) and as we figure out which dates work for one another, we make an official event to put on our calendar.
I personally think that the calendar is great tool for groups, but GroupMe can upgrade it extensively to make planning amongst groups much easier and more seamless. In particular, GroupMe should pursue a feature/function that helps people find a day and time that works for everyone on the group. It would make it less confusing to keep track of and aggregate the dates everyone messages the group.
GroupMe’s biggest competitor is probably Facebook Messenger. Originally a part of the Facebook mobile app, Facebook has spun out the messaging component into a separate app called Messenger. Up until recently, GroupMe’s only real differentiator was the ability to add photos as a “avatar” for the group, as well as the ability to “heart” any of the messages posted in the group. I believe GroupMe’s explosive growth is largely due to it not being tied to individual conversations – many people do not like to use Facebook Messenger for long group conversations because it can get confusing when one gets notifications. With GroupMe, you instantly know that it was a message sent to a group that doesn’t necessarily need your response. Additionally, GroupMe’s interface is far more appealing to other group chat applications.
While we constantly mute our GroupMe’s during the late night group chats between a few night owls in our groups, it is important to realize the utility of this mobile application. It is a useful tool to stay connected with friends, families, classmates, coworkers, or organizations, so stop the hate and begin to appreciate (also set your notifications to mute).