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38 Comments

Planning to create a closed community. Inputs on what channel/ platform would be best?

Hey everyone!

I am planning on creating a small group/ community of makers (have interacted with them over mail earlier primarily, also one or two short video calls). Wasn't sure what channel or platform to use - was deliberating among Slack and Whatsapp. This will essentially be an informal group to share updates.

I asked makers about their preference but the opinion is quite varied. Some common points are:

  1. Slack is great and commonly used but there is a high chance that notifications might get missed. Also, people are part of too many Slack workspaces.
  2. Whatsapp is personal and is great to respond quickly. However, I feel it might be too intrusive for some (No one has expressed this concern yet though).

Would really love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks in advance.

  1. 4

    WhatsApp isn't great for conversations with multiple people, imho, same with the likes of Telegram. It becomes hard to follow specific conversations.

    If they are 'makers' it seems like they would be comfortable with Slack. Engagement is always going to be hard with any community. They may miss notifications, if they don't respond to things then it's not necessarily the tools fault, it's more that it isn't a priority/focus for them. So the key would be to find ways to keep them coming back, DMing them if they have gone quiet, for example.

    1. 1

      They may miss notifications, if they don't respond to things then it's not necessarily the tools fault

      Agree. All modern messengers have settings to make notifications veeeery noticeable. It's a matter of priority for a person if he disables them.

    2. 1

      That's quite an interesting point. All of them are pretty responsive on mails, so I was anyway thinking of quickly dropping them a word there in case I need them to respond to something specific on Slack.

      I actually resonate quite a lot with your thoughts.

  2. 3

    https://www.discourse.org/

    I'm a firm believer that the migration to chat services like Slack, Teams, and Discord is a mistake. We are in too many chatrooms with too many notifications, and lots of anxiety / time wasting thanks to FOMO. Forums are much easier to manage, follow, and search and Discourse is the best of them.

    And if you do want to have a slack channel, Discourse has robust integration:

    Connect Discourse to your favorite chat provider to get notified about new posts. Set up rules to see new topics and replies from only the categories you're interested in. You can even post chat transcripts directly from Slack to Discourse.
    https://www.discourse.org/integrations#chat

    1. 2

      Great suggestion! Will take a detailed look and see if Discourse fits.

      1. 2

        For messengers actually look at Telegram. Much either to use than Slack or Discord, there's already a significant adoption base, lots of tools for community management.

        For Discourse alternatives check what we do (a more modern version), one of the communities using us now: https://creatorsclub.circles.is We also do support Telegram integration and use it as a delivery channel for new posts (higher conversions) while preserving a higher structured form of forum content vs messengers.

      2. 1

        I love discourse, but if it's just for few people then it's a bit overkill. imho :)

        1. 1

          What do you think is the "critical mass" of posting / activity required to switch from something like Slack to something like Discourse?

  3. 2

    This might be more of something to complement a more interactive chat app, but we're building Write.as for Teams for exactly this. Basically, it's a way to create small, private communities where you can share longer updates.

    Would be happy to give you a trial or discount if you want to try it out. Otherwise you can always host it yourself, since it's built on WriteFreely.

  4. 2

    Slack is way better than other platform, especially when you want to interact with multiple people. Whatsapp & co are not very suitable for that.

  5. 2

    I would have said Slack but there ironically seems to be a bit of a backlash going on about them at the mo! Maybe overuse and saturation!
    Depending on what you're looking to share, perhaps other tools like Notion could be useful...
    Whatsapp is too restrictive.
    Facebook groups seem to be having a bit of a revival!

    1. 1

      Hmm, good point. I use Notion quite a bit but didn't think of it in this context.

  6. 1

    How small is small?

    I would strongly recommend some kind of email list - either a modified setup of Discourse or something like a platform that I helped create for my coworking space: https://groupbuzz.io

    In the early days of my coworking space, we actually used the original Basecamp because its messaging features had a really great workflow that allowed users to opt out of specific email threads without opting out of everything entirely. In GroupBuzz, we recreated that experience with a native "mute" button that makes it easy to clearly say "I don't want any more emails about this thread" or, conversely, this is a conversation I DO care about and makes it easy to follow just that thread to get ongoing discussion.

    I still believe strongly that email is the best option, and other tools didn't really strike the balance of email notifications (either too many or too few) so we set up GroupBuzz with defaults that strike that balance: enough to know what's going on, but not so many that it's overwhelming and always put the control in the hands of the recipient.

    It's not free, but for small groups it's a low enough cost that it can be easily split between participants, or made part of a membership!

    Lemme know if you'd like a demo, or have any questions :)

    1. 1

      Also, I just realized that the footer date is extremely outdated, I'm gonna fix that stat :)

  7. 1

    Building something at the moment @hrishikesh1990, would love your input on what features we should have :)

    1. 1

      Would love to connect on this @tomosman! Dropping you an email shortly :)

  8. 1

    Why replace IH?

    1. 1

      Not replacing IH in any way. These are makers I know.

  9. 1

    @hrishikesh1990 tried twist alternative to slack and i'm very happy with it. Nice features there and users from slack will recognize the flow.

    1. 1

      I have read about Twist too, never tried it myself. Maybe a good option to consider.

  10. 1

    Have you looked into Mighty Networks https://www.mightynetworks.com/ ? Might be good option.

    1. 1

      Might Networks looks quite interesting. However, the primary driver for me right now is to have an active community/ group and reduce the number of barriers. Asking people to switch to an entirely new platform/ website at this early stage would be quite tough and I feel would surely affect the activity in the group.

  11. 1

    Mine: https://www.teami.io/ Just kidding 😛

    But maybe something like this could be of interested, let me know

    1. 2

      Looks great but I am looking at exploring a platform which people are already a part of so that they don't have to switch to a new context specifically for this :)

      1. 1

        Sure! This is really important if you want an active community

    1. 1

      I was surely considering Slack (top of my list). Discord I feel isn't by everyone so may cause dropoffs.

  12. 0

    Guess it depends on the group of folks that you are inviting. Not everybody uses Slack. I'd start with Whatsapp.

    1. 1

      Not everybody uses Whatsapp.

      1. 2

        I personally associate WhatsApp with more personal/social/family situations rather than 'work' type things.

        1. 1

          Agree. That's why I was considering Telegram instead of Whatsapp in the first place.

          1. 1

            Telegram also makes sense. Communities like WIP are already on Telegram. Since these folks are makers, most of them will probably already be using Telegram.

            1. 1

              Agree. I was inclined towards Telegram initially but a few of them don't use Telegram and aren't keen on installing it just for this. Instead, they are happy to interact through an integration to an existing platform like Slack. So I thought why not use Slack itself.

      2. 1

        True dat... :) That's why I said it depends on the folks that the OP is inviting...

      3. 1

        That's a big problem too

        1. 1

          I would (and do) avoid anything facebook owned personally.

          That suggestion uptop "Mighty Networks" looks decent.

          You have to figure that you want engaged users, and if someone fits that profile then they will be happy to sign up to something. It's an assumption to be validated, but I would wager that you'd get more traction with something "new" like Mighty Networks than you would with "oh another slack channel" or "oh another whatsapp invitation".

          I think rather than trying to find something that most people already use, it might be the best idea to find something that no-one uses. That way it feels like a real, new thing.

          1. 1

            The thing is I have some sort of connect with all of these makers just that it's never been a group. I have personally connected with each of them. So I don't think they would take it as just another Slack channel or Whatsapp invitation. Also, my onboarding strategy is quite personal in that I am taking a 10-15 min personal call with each of them to explain about the group.

            But I do agree about the novelty bit. And also think it might be a risk :( At a very early stage like this where I am handpicking the first 5-10 members, I would really not want them to drop off or turn inactive because they have to get onto a new platform.

    2. 1

      Correct. Just not sure if people would be open to join a community on Whatsapp. Also, transition later would be super tough, so, it is the final choice right now :(

      1. 1

        Yeah, transitioning users might not be a problem (just share workspace link in the group and people will sign up). You'll lose out on content/conversations.

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