Are you spending a spring term abroad in Europe or the States? Are you just starting your first year of college or graduate school? For those young people venturing off into a new stage of life, often, studying and meeting new groups of people require being absorbed by a new social platform. Discussing events or topics that involve everyone’s attention becomes difficult until you introduce GroupMe. GroupMe is a relatively new chatting application from Microsoft that mixes the best aspects of group chats and social media, with functional tools like calendars, notes and photo galleries. It makes the entire experience of coordinating nights out, discussing where to go next or discuss possible weekend trips infinitely less complicated.
The app works by first creating profiles of each individual prior to being able to use its functionality. Once a user profile is created, you can have direct chats or group chats with anyone on the platform, similar to other messenger apps. Also, like other messenger apps, it stores the names and numbers of your friends that have GroupMe, and creates a pseudo buddy list that you can refer to when creating new chats or groups.
Once you create a chat, the conversation is completely private and can only be shared by someone else inside the group. As such, everyone in the group chat is an admin and has full rights to everything that is being displayed in the chat – primarily the name of the group chat and the image of the group chat. Admins do not have control over content that they did not produce, only individual users have content editing privileges over their own content.
Once everyone is chatting away and making great evening plans or discussing fun events coming up the following weekend, users can get organized by creating calendar events with images, links to facebook, location and directions, as well as, additional notes to inform everyone the price and/ or dress code. These events then ask everyone in the group if they are going or not, thus creating a guest list for the organizers to utilize.
The fun is enhanced even more with the apps photo sharing feature which in addition to sharing it with the group – the uploader can “Meme” the picture – superimposing text over the picture to add to the laughs!
Monetization of the app comes in two forms. First, it can use the data from the vast number of subscribers to fine-tune other applications to serve their needs. Apart from the data, the ability to cross-sell into the platform ancillary services, like mobile skype, photo editors, and organization apps can add significant value to the customers and make substantial profit for the developer.
Overall, the app is a fantastic way of organizing large groups of people aimed at organizing events and sharing good times with each other. It also benefits from the fact that in order to have a chat with these people, they do not have to be your friend or part of your buddy list, which in other apps can prove to be difficult. One are of functionality that the app lacks is the ability to share files over the platform. Only images are allowed to be shared between groups – thus study groups are hurt by this, as presentations and articles have to be shared outside of the app. As such, this makes the app less than efficient in student groups being able to utilize the app for their basic needs.