One of the most interesting developments in communication over the past decade has been the emergence of the text message as the primary means of communication for teens and young adults.
The early days of text messaging taught us all the T9 entry method, and encouraged us to throw all rules of spelling and grammar out the window in order to cram our thoughts into 140 characters or less. In fact, it’s because of this early text messaging restriction that Twitter limits your posts to 140 characters.
Nowadays, text messaging has gotten much more advanced. Gone is the 140 character limit and text only messaging, and in it’s place are dynamic picture and video messaging. We can now send a text to donate money to charity, vote for our favorite performer on American Idol, enter a prize drawing, and numerous other applications. It is normal for college students to text each other in class, or even text their roommate on the other side of the dorm room. I’ve noticed that many of the students that I work with prefer to communicate via text, rather than a phone call or e-mail.
Texting has brought about new laws to prevent texting while driving, put words like “LOL” into our dictionaries, and made us all aware of the dangers of “sexting”. Regardless of what this says about the current state of our society, there is no doubt that text messaging is a powerful communication tool amongst college students. The opportunity exists for fraternities, sororities, councils, or any student organization, for that matter, to harness the power of text messaging by utilizing group text messaging to improve communications amongst members.
The two types of group texting:
One Way Messaging: One way messaging allows a single users to send a text message to a designated group of recipients. When any of the recipients replies to the original message, only the original user will see the reply.
Reply All Messaging: With reply all messaging, a text message can be sent to a large group, and any replies to the original message will be seen by all members of the group.
Applications for group texting in fraternities and sororities:
– Chapters can put every member in a one way messaging group. Then, you can send out meeting reminders, change of venue, news, and any other chapter information that needs to be delivered immediately. No longer will you hear the excuse of, “I didn’t check my e-mail today”.
– Chapter and Council executive boards and committees can create reply all groups that will allow for easier coordination of group activities. Coordinate an impromptu meeting, find out who can run to the store for supplies, or seek immediate feedback on a new idea you had.
– Panhellenic Councils can use group messaging during formal recruitment to coordinate the efforts of Recruitment Counselors, send updates and reminders to chapter Recruitment Chairs, and Potential New Members.
Free group texting services:
I have found two free group texting services that I can recommend; WeTxt, and BeGrouped. Very similar in features, these two services utilize a web-based user interface as the primary method for creating your groups, and configuring them to send either one way or reply all messaging through the website. Once your have set up your groups, you can send out your text messages via the website, or direct from your phone.
At the time of this post, neither service has a smart phone app, but my assumption would be that this will be their next step. Finally, both WeTxt and BeGrouped are still in beta testing, meaning they are not 100% reliable. They are, however, the best free group texting apps that I could find, and I have seen success with both.
Do you use group texting? What successes have you seen with it? Leave a comment here.