Long before the days of Twitter, Facebook and myspace there was a simpler Internet technology: groups. Yahoo! or Google Groups are formed when a community focused around a specialist topic uses email lists and forums to communicate.
As a soloist I refer to my Group resources daily and I thought I would share how you can use Groups within your own business.
They are essentially a community interested in a particular topic. You sign up to the Group and once your subscription has been approved by the moderator, you may discuss the topic via an email list within the Group, view and be notified about relevant calendar events, upload files, photos and view the Group’s history.
You can either subscribe to an existing Group or act as moderator and create your own.
Groups give soloists the opportunity to:
- Discuss specialist topics and connect with people from around the world.
- View other discussions and enhance your learning of that particular subject.
- Ask questions for free.
- Rise to the challenge of answering questions asked by other subscribers, demonstrating your level of knowledge in the specialist area.
- Benefit financially by generating leads and meeting potential business contacts who are looking for your consulting expertise.
- Reduce expenditure through tips shared within the group.
There are also benefits to a soloist who chooses to moderate a Group. You get:
- The chance to develop a focus group in an area that interests you or your business, where one does not exist.
- A productive and smart way to give back to the community.
- The chance to create a community for your existing and potential clients.
- The ability to promote the opportunity of joining the group as a benefit of doing business with you.
Also as moderator, you customise the group to your own preferences, you control membership and invites, you can keep it completely private or you can restrict what other members can do.
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What Yahoo or Google Groups am I a member of?
In the article Cooperation vs Competition many of the people I cooperate with I have met through a private MYOB list.
I am the creator and moderator for a private Yahoo based Group for a committee I am a member of, so we could discuss pertinent matters outside of the meeting room and allow for dynamic and hopefully shorter meetings.
My advice is to use your groups efficiently, set up email rules instead of reading every message that arrives and check the email intermittently, or the interruptions will outweigh the benefits.
What groups are you a member of and has this benefitted your work life? Please share your experiences with us.