Group Text Messaging

7001 New Messages?
For a few years, Facebook was one of the best ways to connect with college students. Not any more. It’s still useful, but not nearly as useful as it used to be. The novelty has worn off and so students aren’t as responsive on it.

So like Steve Lutz I’ve been thinking about text messaging lately. My younger students (frosh and sophomores) seem to be much more likely to have unlimited texting plans than my upperclassmen and grad students.

In the past I’ve just texted people individually, but now I’m experimenting with group text messaging services.

I considered using Twitter and telling people to subscribe via text. A few problems:
a) College students don’t use twitter.
b) It centralizes the communication too much.
c) I don’t feel confident in twitter’s reliability.
d) The verb “tweet”.

So I’ve been looking into other services. So far I’m drawn to txtBlaster. The thing I like best is that I can deputize as many of the subscribers as I want and allow them to text the entire group, so I can make this a student‐driven thing. It’s a free (ad‐supported) service. They claim to screen their ads carefully and to target them based on the type of group you set up. So far so good on that front.

Do you have
a) any thoughts on using text messaging effectively as a ministry tool?
b) another service to recommend (such as TextMarks or txtSignal or even the maligned Twitter)?

P.S. If you want to see txtBlaster in action, feel free to text xastanford to 25278. I’ll be playing around with it for the next few days.

21 thoughts on “Group Text Messaging”

  1. Glen,
    thanks for the shoutout. Great ideas on using some apps other than Twitter that are more geared for communicating within a ministry. I’ll be checking these out!

  2. I think it would be really helpful to have something that college students can use in the church service during announcements.

    To be able to say, “We’re setting up campus small groups this week. If you want to participate, text “lifegroup” + your email address to ****** right now and we’ll send you signup info.”

    “If you want to go on the Mexico Homebuild trip next weekend, text “mexico” + your email address right now to ****** and we’ll send you more info.”

    Everyone has a phone with them. Make it work for Jesus 🙂

  3. @steve — glad I could serve. Like your blog. Great post about being the visiting team.

    @sdesocio — I hadn’t run across MobileStorm before. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

    @adrienne — I think you can accomplish this with http://dotgo.com (a recommendation I received in the Facebook comments on this note). You can do some other cool interactive things with http://www.polleverywhere.com/

    And to summarize here what I’ve been seeing in the FB comments, txtblaster is getting props. The people who use it like it. http://www.eztexting.com was also mentioned.

  4. I was just talking to Jen in the past two days about how it seems the facebook is waning among incoming freshmen — not drastically, but slowly, and probably irreversibly. I’ve actually found email to have renewed usefulness lately. However, you’re right on with texting, and I look forward to checking out txtblaster.

  5. I just had someone recommend Chatterous to me. It’s chat‐focused (as opposed to announcement‐focused like txtblaster), but is more accessible to people who don’t have text plans on their cell phones.

  6. Sorry for the self plug, but you may want to check out WeTxt. http://www.wetxt.com.

    It provides free group text messaging in a variety of manners i.e. reply‐to‐all, reply‐to‐me, message‐blasts. You can text from your phone, the web, or your email. It also provides various other services.

    Hope this helps!

    1. I joined WeTxt. It was great at first but now I have major issues. Parts of the site never open. I can’t add new numbers. I am stuck and there is no response from their feedback page, and I cannot find a phone number to the place. DO NOT USE WETXT.

  7. Group text messaging is today provided my mobile marketing provider to send text messages to customer or friends. Today mobile marketing company use this feature to promote their products to their mobile subscriber.

  8. Group chat via SMS is a large market opportunity that has been solved in an ideal way as soon as the handset vendor community wakes up. Smashtalk (www.smashtalk.net) is the SMS engine that should have been part of every mobile phone. Smashtalk provides full group text chat without any need for a web site. No need to establish groups ahead of time. No need to load any special application. In fact, Smashtalk supports integration to every SMS application running today and enables all of them to enjoy group text chat. Smashtalk technology is available for licensing by any handset vendor, OS vendor or carrier. If you want to have “universal” group text chat, make some noise with your carrier and handset vendor. Smashtalk is what SMS should have been from day 1 and can be going forward.

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