There’s no shortage of ways for people to stay in touch these days; you can text, chat, video chat or snap-chat with anyone from anywhere at any time without giving it a second thought.
The interesting thing about all these ways to communicate is that many of them are generational, older people prefer to call (really old people write letters), the slightly younger might prefer email or a video chat, younger than them would use mobile text chat while even younger communication only in pictures and emoji!
This choice and diversity is great but what about when the generations want to talk to each other? Say, when a family want to share news about a grandchild’s first day at school or arrange a surprise 80th birthday party.
Group email is perfect for this sort of thing. Everyone has an email address and everyone knows how to use email. It’s a truly cross-generational communication technology. It’s also a more personal way of sharing what is happening in your life than Facebook or other social networks.
Gaggle Mail is a really simple and easy way to get setup with group email that even the most technologically averse generation will find a joy to use.
Group email had been around for a long time, it even predates the Web by a few years. The first group email software which became LISTSERV was written in 1986 for IBM mainframes! So this is not a new technology and people have been finding group email lists useful for over 30 years.
At its simplest a group email list (or electronic discussion list) is a single email address which on receiving a message transparently sends a copy the subscribers of the list.
This allows groups of people to exchange messages with each other, usually around a common topic, with the minimal amount of overhead. There’s no need for each individual to maintain a list of member of the group since this is help centrally.
There are plenty of options when creating a group email list; Google Groups is a popular choice with many great features, it does require you and your subscribers to have Google+ accounts to get the most out of it however. Yahoo Groups has also been around for a long time and has many popular group on it.
If you want to control every detail of how your email group is ran you can run your own LISTSERV server either on your own hardware or hosted by someone else. This gives you complete control at a cost, with prices starting at a few hundred dollars per year and setup fess of a similar amount this is really for big lists where total control is required.
With the move towards cloud services Gaggle Mail has been leading a new breed of SaaS based group email services. Group email and cloud services are a good fit. They can offer a clean and simple web based UI to manage your list from desktop or mobile and they can run on commodity cloud based hardware to keep the cost down.
If you need a modern cost effective group email solution give Gaggle Mail a try, it’s free for 30 days then as little as $10 per year after that.
GroupSpaces.com is a platform for managing membership to groups; it’s a popular site founded in 2007 and boasting thousands of groups. However its status of late has come under question with people unable to get support and no changes to the site for years. It appears to be in a ‘zombie’ mode; functioning for the most part but very little signs of life beyond that. It is marked as discontinued by alternativeTo.net.
Obviously we’d love everyone to drop your GroupSpaces accounts and run over to Gaggle Mail and if all you need is a simple, affordable group email list that has custom domain support, searchable message archive and a beautiful interface then why not!
If you do need all the functions that GroupSpaces offers then there are some alternatives; http://www.wildapricot.com/ has a full set of group membership features and http://wiggio.com/ offers a similar feature set.
However if group email is what you need and you want someone dedicated to making the easiest to use, reliable, group email software then we’d recommend Gaggle Mail. Obviously.
Making sure messages get successfully delivery is one of the main goals of any group email list and we’re just made it even easier to check group members are receiving their messages.
Every message sent over Gaggle Mail has a delivery report associated with it that shows when everybody received that message and if there are any delivery failures. This feature is only available to list administrators who can access it by clicking “Delivery Report” in the bottom left hand corner of any message in the messages view.
Any members which had difficulty receiving a message will be listed at the top and you can click on them to see further details about a delivery failure.
In here you can see the exact details of the delivery failure and some advice about what to do next.
Delivery failures are usually either a hard-bounce, soft-bounce, spam or rejected. You can read more and different types of delivery failures here or more about this feature here.
As with all of Gaggle Mail we’ve tried to make this feature simple to use but with enough flexibility to get the job done. We hope you agree and as we continue to build Gaggle Mail into the easiest to use group email solution available if you have any suggests how we could improve please let us know.
Some group email lists can get very busy, especially when there’s lots of members. We have recently introduced a Daily Digest feature to Gaggle Mail that lets individual members of a group only receive an email from the group once a day rather than as soon as it’s been sent.
The option is immediately available to all members.
Immediately All messages sent to the group are immediately sent on to you.
Daily digest Holds all messages sent to the group and once a day sends you a digest email.
Pause all messages Stops sending you messages indefinitely but you will still remain a member of the group.
The digest option together with the ability to indefinitly pause delivery of all messages will give members more flexibility about how they interact with the group email list.
You can read more about this feature here.
Gaggle Mail has always archived all messages sent over it and made the message archive available to administrators of the list. All messages are instantly searchable and any attachments are also available for download from the message archive.
We have now made the message archive available to members of a list as well as administrators. Allowing members to access the message archive is at the list administrators discretion and is configured in the list Settings.
Read more about this feature here.
One useful feature of Gaggle Mail is the ability to configure to whom messages sent to your list are sent to, either the entire list or just the original sender.
We have recently made a change to make this distinction even clearer. Emails sent via your list will always come from the name of the person sending the mail with the email address of the group i.e. ‘John Sender <email@example.com>‘.
If you hit reply to this message depending on whether the list is configured to reply to just the sender or the group the To: field on the reply email will look like ‘John Sender <firstname.lastname@example.org>‘ or ‘Our Book Club <email@example.com>‘.
It’s worth remembering that replys to emails from the list are just regular emails so if you want to change who they are sent to you can just edit to the To: field.
Hopefully this will make it clear to anyone in your group where emails are coming from and to whom they are being sent.
The young are quicker to respond that the old and if you don’t get a response in 48 hours, forget it.
Study Explains Psychology Behind Email Response Time
We’ve recently improved how attachment are handled on Gaggle Mail. You’ve always been able to send attachments, up to a maximum of 5MB but now we show them in the Messages section of the group administration console where you can also download the attachment.
We’ve just made a change to the layout of Gaggle Mail when viewed on large desktop screens. Gaggle Mail already embraces responsive design and is completely usable on whatever size of screen you have.
However we realised that our original design was tailored more towards small screens and perhaps we could make better use of the space when viewed on larger desktop screens.