Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


Yahoo's Group
by
Jocelyn Doire

Ever wanted to organize a family reunion, a support group or any other kind of meeting involving lots of people spread all over the place? To do that you use the old method of using the mail or the phone, but both are slow and potentially expensive. Alternatively you could use the Internet and create a web site, but it’s not everyone who has the knowledge and the time to create an attractive web site. When my high school class decided to make their “conventum”, that is a reunion of all those who graduated 20 years ago, they used the group feature offered by Yahoo.

The first thing you need to do is to open an account for yourself if you don’t already have one, for that go to http://groups.yahoo.com/ (or http://fr.groups.yahoo.com for the French version), select Click here to register and fill in the forms. Read carefully what’s there, or you may end up with something you don’t want, for example on the second page, I did not want to “Yes, personalize my browser with Yahoo! Companion toolbar”, so I removed the check mark there. If you have trouble with what you get from Yahoo, don’t ask me, asks Yahoo!

The second step is to create the group, for that, click on Start a new Group!, which should bring you to http://groups.yahoo.com/start. If you are a new user, you will get a message saying that you need to verify your Yahoo email address, follow the instructions; click on “here”, then “Non-verified”, then “send verification”. When you get the confirmation message, get the verification code and enter it with your password, click on verify, click on Continue using Yahoo!, re-enter your password once again and fill in the member detail form, and finally click on “finished”. If you are like me, you will probably have to repeat some of the steps (or all of them…), just re-read the screens and follow the step until you are verified member, and then go to http://groups.yahoo.com/start. 

To create the group you need to tell Yahoo what kind of group you are, in my example I selected “”, then “Education”. I could have refined further the type but I thought it was enough and I clicked on Place my group in Education. On the second page you can type the name of the group, the description, the email address of the group and a few options like whether the group is moderated or not. On the third page you can select your profile and email address. Finally on the fourth page, you can enter the emails of the members of your group, the welcome message and how you want to subscribe the your members. If everything went OK, you will now have a group web page (for example http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OPCUG_Demo), and a group email (for example: OPCUG_Demo@yahoogroups.com).

Now the fun part begins! 

With your group web page you can:

  • Send invitations to anyone to register to the group (click on invite)
  • Send messages to all the members of the group (click on post)
  • Read the messages posted by the members (click on messages)
  • Create polls (click on polls, create poll, enter the question and the choices)
  • Create a photo album (click on photos, create album)
  • Create a database, for example one with phone number  (click on database)
  • Create a calendar of the events (click on calendar)
  • Chat with members that are online (click on chat)
  • and more.
The most difficult part for me was to register to Yahoo using the web interface, but you can make the whole process much easier to your members by sending invite messages, which will allow registering by simply replying to the invite. Obviously you have to be careful to not annoy your members, and depending on the level of trust or knowledge, you may need to become the moderator to filter the messages.

This is a great service offered by Yahoo, and for the price of some ads, it can make the organization of your meetings so much easier, and help to keep all the members well informed in near real time.

If you have the time, why don’t you take a look at the group web page I created and try the little surveys I did at http://groups.yahoo.com/ group/OPCUG_Demo/polls? You can easily subscribe by sending an empty email to OPCUG_Demo-subscribe@yahoogroups.com  and by replying to it. Note that you will get all the messages that are posted on the group’s site. To unsubscribe, send an empty email to OPCUG_Demo-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com.


Bottom Line:

Yahoo's Group
Free service
Yahoo
Web site: http://groups.yahoo.com/


Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

The opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.