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Congregation app?


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Last night, during an elder's meeting, one brother who moved to our hall about 6 months back recommended a congregation app. He mentioned that his last congregation had an app that was private, but t was focused on service, so someone would post something like "looking for someone to join me on a study on a certain day and time" Then others could chime in and make arrangements. This sounds like a decent idea, but I haven't heard of any other congregations using it and am concerned at some issues it could potentially cause. Does anyone have experience with this?

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Just now, Thesauron said:


It’s a Facebook app, so privacy is not the highest privacy factor. If and when that is called for, a switch can easily be made. These days it is mainly used for service group announcements and non-confidential talk.

I'll look into it. Thanks

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WhatsApp is like texting, but more advanced. You can send pictures, videos, audios, a contact, your location or record your own voice message. You can also make voice and video calls. All for free (well, unless you pay for data). Communication is encrypted so it's reasonably private.

 

You can use WhatsApp to communicate with just one person, but you can also create groups and they will all receive the messages at the same time. WhatsApp is extremely popular in Europe, where virtually everybody has an account. We use it a lot for preaching groups, volunteer teams, servant and elder bodies, and so on. For example, our group overseer sent a message to the whole group last night saying this morning we would meet in a different home than was initially scheduled.

 

Groups can also be created just for a particular event and then deleted. For example, when we throw a good-bye party for some brother we create a WhatsApp group with all the congregation and discuss there where we will meet or who will prepare every thing. After the party we post some pictures there for all members to have, then delete the group.

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6 hours ago, carlos said:

WhatsApp is like texting, but more advanced. You can send pictures, videos, audios, a contact, your location or record your own voice message. You can also make voice and video calls.

I've wondered about how Whatsapp would work in an emergency. I've read that when there is a natural disaster that phone lines are tied up but texts are sometimes able to get through, so texting could possibly be a good way to communicate during a disaster, on the other hand, if elders, congregations and families rely on Internet based apps such as Whatsapp, then what will happen during an emergency? Which is a more reliable method of group communication during a disaster, cellular based group texting or internet based apps? Is there a difference?

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Yes, there is a difference. WhatsApp works through internet. You need to have internet signal (4G, 3G, 2G, whatever) in order to send or receive. On the other hand, texts are sent using the same signal you use for voice.

 

In areas where you have bad coverage, usually the internet signal is lost first. Often can speak and send texts but cannot use internet. Now I have no idea of how they respond in case of lines being tied up in an emergency.

 

EDIT: I just found this good explanation here:

https://www.quora.com/Whats-more-reliable-during-heavy-network-congestion-SMS-or-iMessage


Edited by carlos
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5 hours ago, Tortuga said:

I've wondered about how Whatsapp would work in an emergency. I've read that when there is a natural disaster that phone lines are tied up but texts are sometimes able to get through, so texting could possibly be a good way to communicate during a disaster, on the other hand, if elders, congregations and families rely on Internet based apps such as Whatsapp, then what will happen during an emergency? Which is a more reliable method of group communication during a disaster, cellular based group texting or internet based apps? Is there a difference?

Amateur Radio usually works but very few JW's are Ham Operators.

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4 hours ago, jwhess said:

Amateur Radio usually works but very few JW's are Ham Operators.

True. I was really thinking about how the elders get in touch with everyone right after a disaster to ensure they are ok. I was wondering about which method would work best, group texts or a WhatsApp group message. It sounds like one method isn't better than the other,  it depends on the situation. 

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True. I was really thinking about how the elders get in touch with everyone right after a disaster to ensure they are ok. I was wondering about which method would work best, group texts or a WhatsApp group message. It sounds like one method isn't better than the other,  it depends on the situation. 

After a terrorist attack here some years ago, the elders primarily sent out text and made phone calls to ensure everyone in the group was ok. WhatsApp only secondarily.
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4 hours ago, Tortuga said:

True. I was really thinking about how the elders get in touch with everyone right after a disaster to ensure they are ok. I was wondering about which method would work best, group texts or a WhatsApp group message. It sounds like one method isn't better than the other,  it depends on the situation. 

A website I read yesterday explained that texting may work fine even when voice services are saturated.

 

One of the reasons was that texting takes very little bandwith, while voice takes a lot. Another was that when you call someone the line is busy as long as you are speaking, and no one else can use it, but when you send a text it only takes a fraction of a second. Besides, SMS keep trying until there's signal and they can be sent. A last factor was that a special section of the bandwith is reserved for SMS. The website compared it to driving on the shoulder when the freeway is jammed.

 

On the other hand, even if all the phone infrastructure is down, WhatsApp will work great if you have a wifi access. Internet is designed to survive a nuclear holocaust. :)


Edited by carlos
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2 hours ago, carlos said:

A website I read yesterday explained that texting may work fine even when voice services are saturated.

 

One of the reasons was that texting takes very little bandwith, while voice takes a lot. Another was that when you call someone the line is busy as long as you are speaking, and no one else can use it, but when you send a text it only takes a fraction of a second. Besides, SMS keep trying until there's signal and they can be sent. A last factor was that a special section of the bandwith is reserved for SMS. The website compared it to driving on the shoulder when the freeway is jammed.

 

On the other hand, even if all the phone infrastructure is down, WhatsApp will work great if you have a wifi access. Internet is designed to survive a nuclear holocaust. :)

Thank you for doing more research.

I have read the same thing about texting so I have assumed texting would be the best way to initially get information to a large group during a disaster. However it appears that WhatApp could supplement the emergency communication after wifi is established.

 

As Johan said, it also sounds like a good strategy would be to text and call to establish that everyone is okay and then use WhatsApp to maintain communication with the group. 

However, I assume that in areas where the elders and congregation use WhatsApp a lot, they would probably rely on it to make initial contact with the entire group and then follow up with texts and phone calls to anyone that doesn't respond to the WhatsApp group text. 

 

With all that said, I plan to keep WhatsApp on my phone just in case... :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
On ‎7‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 2:49 PM, Tortuga said:

Thank you for doing more research.

I have read the same thing about texting so I have assumed texting would be the best way to initially get information to a large group during a disaster. However it appears that WhatApp could supplement the emergency communication after wifi is established.

 

As Johan said, it also sounds like a good strategy would be to text and call to establish that everyone is okay and then use WhatsApp to maintain communication with the group. 

However, I assume that in areas where the elders and congregation use WhatsApp a lot, they would probably rely on it to make initial contact with the entire group and then follow up with texts and phone calls to anyone that doesn't respond to the WhatsApp group text. 

 

With all that said, I plan to keep WhatsApp on my phone just in case... :)

one more point to consider is that some mobile networks set a limit to number of contacts they permit for group texts eg 28, whereas Whatsapp allows much larger groups., we use WhatsApp for literature cart shifts if anyone needs to get temporary help to cover their shift.

works well !

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Our Congregation has more than one Whatsapp group - one is used by the Elders to notify and they are the only ones who can post - it works quite nicely. 

 

However, the Sisters started one "just for the sisters" :shrugs: a couple of my daughters joined - for a while. They have since left the group because the number of posts/responses became so many that they became too time consuming just to dismiss them. 

 

Seems no matter what got posted, everyone thought they needed to respond with an "OK", "That's great", "Got it" or some other comment. The responses were so frequent that their phones were going off, not only all day, but even in the middle of the night.

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1 hour ago, Qapla said:

Our Congregation has more than one Whatsapp group - one is used by the Elders to notify and they are the only ones who can post - it works quite nicely. 

 

However, the Sisters started one "just for the sisters" :shrugs: a couple of my daughters joined - for a while. They have since left the group because the number of posts/responses became so many that they became too time consuming just to dismiss them. 

 

Seems no matter what got posted, everyone thought they needed to respond with an "OK", "That's great", "Got it" or some other comment. The responses were so frequent that their phones were going off, not only all day, but even in the middle of the night.

so true...

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