How to Use Groups in Socialcast

By C. Michael Woodward, MPH, Abshier House

One of the handiest features of Socialcast is Groups. You can create or join unlimited numbers of groups, which makes it easy to create groups for team projects, to store specific types of files, to solve problems, or just to get to know each other.

Step 1: Start a new group.

image0.jpg

Source: Socialcast.com

From anywhere in Socialcast, point to or tap the Groups icon on the main toolbar. If you hover there a moment, the Groups box appears. Here you can start a new group, search for an existing group, or view the whole list of current groups.

Click on the + icon to start a new group.

Step 2: Fill in the details.

image1.jpg

Source: Socialcast.com

You want the group to be interesting and compelling for others to join, so give your group a title, a description, and maybe a photo. At the lower right is also a place to add popular or recommended links related to your group.

Group permissions enable you to control whether the group is open to anyone in the community, only to people you invite, or possibly even to people outside of the company (called externally facing).

Group members will receive notifications whenever a message is posted, but you can also check the box to send them email about group activities.

If you want to allow anyone to be able to join the group, check the Email members when messages are posted box.

Step 3: Invite your coworkers and teammates to join.

image2.jpg

Source: Socialcast.com

After you have the basics set up, invite the appropriate people to the party. You can type their names (if current community members) or email addresses. If you have many names, it’s easier to upload all the info in a spreadsheet with a CSV format.

Step 4: Let the socializing begin.

image3.jpg

Source: Socialcast.com

After you’ve sent out the invitations and people have begun to join, you can do a variety of things within the group. Most of them start by clicking on one of the options above the Status text box, depending on what you’re up to.

How many times have you accidentally “replied to all” on an email when you only meant it to go to the sender? Same idea here. You can do most of these same activities from your Home page or the Company Home page in Socialcast, but you’ll be interacting with your whole community, not just those within the group. So be sure you’re barking up the right tree when you post!

Group activity will appear both in your group stream as well as your Home stream, but not on the community-wide Company stream. Activity that happens outside the group, including imported activity from external sources like Twitter, will not appear in the group stream. (Which is essentially the point of having a separate “private room” for topical discussions without all those outside distractions.)

If you only want to see a certain type of group activity, click the down arrow next to All Activity to filter out everything except one type (files, links, photos, videos, broadcasts, or previously hidden activities).

You can direct most posts to specific people or groups, and you can attach any kind of file to any kind of post including polls.

If you choose. . . You can. . .
Activity Update Post a status update, with or without files or web link
previews attached. You’re likely familiar with the
Facebook-like flow on the page. Bonus: If you post more than one
link, you can choose which one to use for the preview.
Question Post a question and get open-ended answers. Attach files or
photos. All responses will be in the same thread. Or create a poll
to help the group reach consensus on a question.
Thanks Publicly give a group member kudos for their contribution by
sending a token of your esteem along with your glowing praise.
Idea Think of something that will make a process better, or at least
make everyone’s day more pleasant? Post it here and get
feedback, including up and down votes.
Broadcast Community administrators can post a broadcast, which goes to
every member of the community and generally is used to make
company-wide announcements. The broadcast will have
attention-getting graphics so it’s easy to spot. You can set
a timer so that the broadcast appears at the top of every
user’s Home stream for a set number of days.
Files Any files posted by group members will be found here, including
documents, photos, and whatever else. You can open it then or save
it to your hard drive.
Projects Create and manage projects within the group; assign tasks and
deadlines, and post related files.
Challenges A challenge presents a question or idea to the group. So long
as the permissions are set to Private, a group Challenge is only
visible within the group. You can add other groups or individuals
to any challenge or even change the permissions to open it up
company-wide.
Settings The multitude of options under the gear help you make your
group more useful. You can update the description, add related
links, work with RSS and Webfeeds, and generate JavaScript code you
can use to embed the group’s steam into some other
application.

If a group is no longer active, you can archive it from the Settings menu. Archiving it will remove all of the group’s activities from everyone’s streams without permanently removing it from the community. After a group is archived, no new activities can happen unless the group is reactivated. Only after a group has been archived can you delete it completely from the community.