Monday, April 13, 2009
Resource Review - Joopz and Tatango
Joopz and Tatango- Text messaging services for youth groups
OVERALL - It's a two fer one this week. I felt bad about just doing Joopz (again) since I mentioned them last year before I started the 52 resources in 52 weeks challenge. Then I found Tatango which is a different way to achieve the same goal. And that's the ability to reach out to our young people with text messaging. These are oriented to mass texting which gives you the ability to reach the entire group all at once! Both have free and low cost versions.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? It's interesting to see two companies taking very different approaches to the same concept. Joopz offers web based texting that is two way (folks can respond to you), group messaging, reminder messages, and scheduled messages. It's a pretty straight forward service. The free service is very usable and their full service is only $19.95 a year! Tatango is a slightly different. It has more bells and whistles (for example you can send a voicemail to all your group members through the service). There's a very usable free service. The pay services (there are about five different levels) are more expensive while still being a fair value for all the options you can get.
With either service you'll get the ability to connect with your youth using the medium that they use most often. And the great thing is that you can do it from any computer anywhere! I've been experimenting with the text service the last couple weeks and it's very quick and easy. You can even divide the contacts so you can just text adult leaders, parents, youth or all of the above.
RESERVATIONS With Joopz it's the fact that you can't create a group larger than 10 people. It means multiple groups to cover everybody. It's a minor annoyance but it's an annoyance. For Tatango it's that the free service is paid for by small ads inserted at the end of your text. They are small 30-40 character (age appropriate) ads placed at the end of each text message. For a great free service you'll just have to choose your poison.
RECOMMENDATION I've been very impressed with both of these services. Take a look at both services and decide which one will work better for you. Right now texting is THE preferred way to communicate for young people. With these services you can get on the cutting edge with very little upfront cost to you.