What Is a Good Alternative to a Facebook Group?
By Timothy James
Facebook's groups feature allows you to create a page for a limited group of people and easily share information with all other members of the group. Examples might include a group called "Things to Do in Los Angeles" or "Friends of the Spotted Owl." If you don't wish to use Facebook's groups feature, you will find many available alternatives elsewhere.
Google+, a social network that in many ways compares to Facebook, offers its members a feature called "Communities" that's similar to Facebook's groups feature. Google+ communities consist of a list of members who, as with Facebook groups, may need to wait for approval from an administrator before joining. Google+ groups are often very large and can be on almost any topic, including photography, entertainment and science.
Groupbox bills itself as "a free website for online groups." As with Facebook groups, Groupbox allows you to create a list of members. Some groups are open, while others require members to receive permission before joining. Groupbox offers its members one important feature not offered by Facebook's Groups feature: a discussion board. Groupbox discussion boards are essentially a forum devoted to items of interest to the group. Groupbox also allows members to share photos and chat.
Yahoo groups offer many of the same benefits offered by Facebook groups. The members of Yahoo groups, however, seem to focus more on sharing serious information than do groups on Facebook. For example, some groups offer technical help for programmers, while others offer encouragement for those battling addiction. For example, Yahoo's C# .NET group claims to be the single largest email-based group of C# developers in the world. Group members can communicate using their Yahoo email accounts.
For those seeking to get serious work done, Groopt can't be beat. Originally built for fraternities and sororities, Groopt's sub-groups feature allows group administrators to contact only a pre-defined portion of the members of a group. Unlike Facebook, Groopt also offers spreadsheets and billing. Groopt even provides a polling system, so that group administrators can take a poll of their members to decide, for example, which restaurant members prefer to visit at their next meeting.