August 2, 2012 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Online groups: is it still Yahoo vs Google?

I'm starting a Neighborhood Watch group for my block and I'd like to implement an online message board that people who are in NW group can join. I currently am a member of a bunch of Yahoo groups but I'm guessing the world has moved on and there's a better/newer/cooler service out there now. Is Google Groups better? (This from 2006, is probably not so useful anymore) Is there something else that I, as boring middle-ager, don't know about?

I'm also looking into Next Door but am having some technical difficutlies setting it up so I thought I'd see if there were other options in the mean time.

It should be easy to access and use, be mostly self-managed, and free or super cheap.
posted by otherwordlyglow to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Much as I hate to say this, if it's for assorted not necessarily techie people, you probably want to use a site they're using already, which probably means Facebook.
posted by ook at 1:51 PM on August 2, 2012

I guess I should also add that I'd like to be able to store files on the site and have searchable messages/email distribution. That eliminates Facebook, doesn't it?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:56 PM on August 2, 2012

Google Groups is better if only because there's hardly any spam. Every single Yahoo! Group that I've subscribed to has been spammed repeatedly.

> you probably want to use a site they're using already, which probably means Facebook.

Nah, groups are pretty painless to setup. Not everyone with an email address uses Facebook.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:57 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you going to have actual physical events? has some message board functionality, though the calendar etc are better.
posted by ejaned8 at 2:19 PM on August 2, 2012

Yes, events, but mostly meetings.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:22 PM on August 2, 2012

Our neighborhood association just went back to using Neighborhood Link. I'm not loving it, but it seems fairly ok.

I would *not* be thrilled with anything that relied on Facebook for this kind of thing, FWIW.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:40 PM on August 2, 2012

I would recommend creating a Facebook group. Almost everyone is already on facebook, and it'll be easier to get people to participate on a platform they already use, especially since this group is likely to have lots of people who aren't super-active members.

I know that you have things you are certain you need, but the reality is that the thing that really matters is people actually using/participating. It won't matter if you have searchable messages but no one is sending messages.

This isn't about techy-ness or intelligence. The reality is that most people already have a billion different online destinations or obligations every day, and they are EXTREMELY resistant to adding a new one.

Fish where the fish are.
posted by Kololo at 2:41 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

FYI, you can no longer associate files with a Google group. There are alternatives mentioned at
posted by jjwiseman at 4:18 PM on August 2, 2012

I've been using BigTent for some of my groups. You have the option of charging to join, and users can log on with their Facebook account.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:34 PM on August 2, 2012

Yahoo Groups are way easier to manage, in my experience.
posted by k8t at 8:43 PM on August 2, 2012

Our neighborhood group uses Google Groups. It's definitely not the case that everyone is on Facebook, and it's definitely not the case that everyone who has a Facebook account checks it all the time.
posted by escabeche at 10:05 PM on August 2, 2012

Our neighborhood groups are very active on Facebook. There is one for the larger area and then one for each neighborhood, one for each neighborhood watch, one for selling stuff, etc. You can store text info and search.
posted by dawkins_7 at 5:23 AM on August 3, 2012

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