CB2: GroupMe Gets the Gov2.0 Treatment
It’s always great when you discover something that’s not only fun but can make your job easier. Recently I became aware of a service named GroupMe that enables you to instantly define a group of friends or co-workers and text them all at once with a single number.
To give it a try, I set up a text group including myself, Ilya, Steve and my brother in it in just 2 minutes. When any of us text the GroupMe number that was generated, everyone receives the message at once. Additionally, we can sign on and view a whole history of the conversation online. Our “serious” chat is pictured below.
In terms of the collaborative aspect of Gov2.0, GroupMe can help you communicate more effectively in your work teams by establishing texting groups for a particular project or event. Sure we have email for this, but GroupMe is great when short, instant messages are key. For example, you and 10 co-workers are traveling to a conference together and exchange messages like, “Who’s opening the conference booth today?” or “I’m going to the Open Government session at 10:30. Let’s all sit together.” With email, the session would likely be over before everyone in the group received your message.
Looking through my Crisis Response lens, GroupMe could also prove to be an excellent tool for coordinated communications on the ground during an emergency. Picture the huddle of an incident commander, mayor, police and fire chiefs and other first responders discussing an action plan. Picture that same team immediately setting up a GroupMe number where they can all reach each other quickly after breaking apart. Especially given that SMS is one of the more reliable forms of communication during a crisis, I truly believe this concept of “instant crisis texting groups” could help save lives.
Again, while GroupMe has a lot of serious applications, you can try it out just for fun. Set up a group for your book club, kid’s sports team, or just about anything else. Just visit http://www.groupme.com/
Chris Bennett is a self-proclaimed emergency management innovator who is trying to make government better by improving citizen preparedness and crisis communications. He’s a graduate of Wharton with a master’s from Harvard with in “Technology, Innovation, Education.” His portfolio of companies and former projects include OneStorm Hurricane Preparedness, ReadyTown, GovLive, TexasPrepares and America’s Emergency Network. Chris was the recipient of FL Governor Crist’s 2008 Public Information Award. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, loves to fish, and has been spotted sharing a pint with GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler in Tampa.
What does CB2 Mean? “Chris Bennett’s Crisis Blog.” It was originally CB Squared but the superscript 2 never took, so now we’re rocking the big 2.