Many Forums stay in touch between meetings by using a phone app to share quick comments, photos, ideas, etc. There are many possibilities for voice chats and video chats – What’s App, Line, Kik, Slack, Squirrel and WeChat are just a few.
But beware! Some apps permanently retain the names of participants and their chats. When you add a new member to your Forum, the new member may be able to see previous chats before they joined the group. This could include private information about prior Forum members. In one case, a new Forum member was able to scroll back and see what the Forum had said about HIM as they were deciding whether to add him to their Forum.
Even a free app may have unintended consequences. Do your research on the best app for your particular Forum. Know how little or how much you want to do with it, and whether it has a feature to protect the privacy of previous conversations. Adding a new member might be a great time to explore shifting to a new chat tool to avoid carry-over of confidential issues!
While group chats can’t replace the value of Forum meetings, they are a useful communication tool that can keep your members connected and informed between meetings.