BlackBerry 101 - BlackBerry Messenger Groups

BlackBerry 101 - BBM Groups
By Joseph Holder on 17 Jan 2011 02:16 pm EST

Back in October, we ran a poll to see just how many BlackBerry Messenger groups you belonged to. Surprisingly, out of nearly 10,000 votes, the vast majority of our readers don't use BBM groups at all. And that really is a shame.

You already know that BBM is a great communications tool, but did you know it could be more? BBM groups extends that simplicity of communication to an entire group of people. Instantly share photos, chats, and project lists with up to 30 participants.

We'll show you three real-world examples of how I use BBM groups; and then how to use them for yourself.

Real Life Examples

CrackBerry Idol 

Around the time that the CrackBerry Idol accessory reviews started showing on the blog, several of the group started a CB Idol BBM group. We formed a friendship in that group. Rather than a have a bunch of back-stabbing, hate-filled contestants, the group helped each other with their reviews. We were in the group chat together when the round 2 voting results got posted. Now that was a moment. Elated that I had moved on; disheartened for my friends who didn't make it. BBM Groups brings people together.

The Family

Not long after we became a BlackBerry family, I put together a group of me, my two sisters, one of my brothers, and my dad. We haven't converted everybody, but we're working on it. The other night we all got together in the group chat to talk about an upcoming family vacation. Dad sent us all pictures of his new puppy, Fuego; my sister responded in kind. BBM Groups help you share and enjoy.

Many, many hours


CrackBerry Writers

Not very long ago at all, we ran into a bit of problem. With all of our writers separated by thousands of miles and up to twelve time zones, it's difficult to keep everyone in know on important doings. We've tried email, but those sometime become lost in the inbox. We've tried spreadsheets; while those work, they get complicated quickly. Finally, we tried a BBM group and using lists. That did the trick.

We're now instantly able to communicate with each other about those aforementioned doings. We share a list of the articles we're working on. And again, we've helped each other find better and easier ways of doing things. BBM groups help you collaborate.

How to set up your BBM group

Create a new group Set details for the group

Create a new BlackBerry Messenger group.  In BBM, scroll to the bottom. Below "BlackBerry Groups," you'll find the option to create a new group.



Set Group Details.  Here you can name the group and provide a brief description of the group. Setting option "Allow Non-admin Members To Invite Others" to Yes means that others can invite people to the group without hassle. 


Set the icon for the group Congratulations! You've created a group.

You can change the icon of the group to one of the provided icons.


Congratulations!  You've created a BlackBerry group.


Add new member Add a new member - invite options

After opening your group in BBM, touch or click Members. Here, simply click Invite a new member to start the simple process for adding new participants.   

You'll have the option to invite members by email, PIN, or BBM message or by scanning a personal barcode. 


Add a member by email or PIN or BBM Add a member by scanning a personal barcode
When sending a group invite request, even by PIN or email, the request lands in BlackBerry Messenger, never touching your recipient's mailbox. Your BlackBerry correctly recognizes the message as a "BBM via email".    You can also add a member by scanning their personal barcode.  Oddly enough, it's oftentimes easier for the other person to scan your group barcode.  
What can BBM Groups do for you? Once you've created your group and added some members to it, you're going to want to do more. Obviously, there is a group chat where up to thirty people can share in the conversation at once. You won't receive 30 delivered and read notifications, but you can tell who is typing by watching the top of the screen.
Much like BBM single or multi-person chats, you can send pictures to the group. A very nice feature is the ability to comment each picture. Whether you're impressed with the view of Aloha Joe's beach or you're discussing the latest in fall fashions, group pictures can be an invaluable collaboration tool.
Speaking of collaboration, Lists is a perfect way to make and follow up on assignments. Each list item can be assigned a due date, category, and priority. The priority can even be set to increase as the deadline approaches. A good way for keeping up with homework and work-work alike.
You can even discuss if a tomato is a fruit or vegetable

So there you have it, many different ways to use BBM Groups. I've listed just some of the uses I've found for BBM groups. If you're new to groups, how will you use them? If you've used groups for some time, how do you use BlackBerry Messenger groups?

Reader comments

BlackBerry 101 - BlackBerry Messenger Groups


Yea, that all sounds great. But when I setup a bbm group on my new torch, my phone quit syncing with my outlook contact list, calendars, etc. To make my phone sync again, I had to basically wipe my phone and start over.

I guess if BB would fix this problem, maybe I'll start using bbm groups again.

Do you sync with outlook for contact information and calendars? I didn't think it was a Torch problem, but a RIM software problem. After the "Group Calendar" loaded, it would not find my default calendar anymore. I did some research on the web and thought this was a common problem.

Do you sync with outlook for contact information and calendars? I didn't think it was a Torch problem, but a RIM software problem. After the "Group Calendar" loaded, it would not find my default calendar anymore. I did some research on the web and thought this was a common problem.

Check default services? Maybe the phone changed the default calendar to group calendar, or something.

I use a Torch and sync my contacts with outlook with no problem and I have 3 groups setup on my Phone. I even created two of the groups myself.

I use bbm groups for grocery lists. As one member of my family is on an unlimited email and IM plan, with no other data allowed, it's the only grocery list we can use that updates In real-time. Some of the *less technological* people can't wait to get a playbook now so that they can see the grocery list on something the size of the piece of paper they'd gotten used to.

Hey, Can you tell me how you use it for a grocery list? I have been trying to do the same thing, but unless you create a new "list" for each item, I don't see a way to put any text in the list.

I wasn't a BB user when the poll ran but I use it now.

Haven't found all that many groups to belong (BB users are Facebooking more I guess?) but the one I found that I care about is going great so far.

Maybe it is Facebook (and by extension, Twitter) that are keeping people away?

I remember when that poll went up and at the time had was in only one group. Now that I have a new job and everyone uses bb's I am now apart of 7 groups. Just about all are for work where I am on a few different boards, and committees and the bbm group has help my co-workers and I stay up to date on all our task and things that need to get done. We have even taken this one step further by having some of our last minutes meetings over bbm. It is a little crazy but it is just for needed info where we can quickly get to the point and move on. Plus this a good way to have things in writing.

I tried to set up a group with my brothers, but one inadvertently didn't, no matter how many times I send a re-invite, it won't go through. It appears as though once refused, membership is no longer open for acceptance.

It still might be possible to add him to the group.  You'll just need to get your brother to scan the group's barcode.  If you don't live near each other, take a screenshot of the group barcode and email it to him.  Then, he'll be able to select "Scan a Group Barcode" from inside the BBM menu to add himself to the group.  I'm not 100% on this, but I'm fairly certain that would work.  

We are addressing the issue that many people have about where to find groups. We are in the infancy of creating a website that will allow people to post a group where people will be able to see them in an organized manner. As of right now it is "very" new. With only the forums available. If you have a group that you would like to get out for others to see and join,visit the site and contact the admin with a picture of your bar code and they will post it. And please feel free to post any comments in the forums about how you think it could be made, for you the user, better.

I use groups to send messages to my family or friends to connect at one location. Invaluable tool to get the message to everyone and get them to one spot at a certain time. If I was still partying as i did in university, I'd be using it to organize pub nights...

My friends and I started a group to report roadblocks/radar or any police incident. Its great! Not that any of us drive like idiots, but its nice to have the heads up as to a seatbelt check or radar up ahead.

And remember kids no texting and driving (well at least here in Vancouver, B.C.) ;)

Maybe nobody uses bbm because it's the same as SMS. Same damn thing. SMS is actually better because you can SMS while on the phone. Bbm you can't. Beside its lame

You can BBM while on the phone! I do it all the time while on hold... Depends on the carrier and type of network... 3G gsm will allow it. Sms is lame! Don't even try to compare the two.

I quote: "have you ever had to send an extremely important message? Sms doesn't tell you if the person got it. Bbm does. Ever need to send a message to multiple people and allow people to communicate with each other instead of you acting the middle man? Sms doesn't do that, bbm does. Carrying that over, groups with people who have the same interests makes the day go by quicker as there tends to be something to talk about all day" - well spoken.

have you ever had to send an extremely important message? Sms doesn't tell you if the person got it. Bbm does. Ever need to send a message to multiple people and allow people to communicate with each other instead of you acting the middle man? Sms doesn't do that, bbm does. Carrying that over, groups with people who have the same interests makes the day go by quicker as there tends to be something to talk about all day.

I've got a photography group, family group, friends group, and couples group.

I like the idea of BBM Group, but the bbm group drain my battery like hell. Is it me or anyone feels the same??

Great article. I've never use the group feature before. Anyway, my BBM list is still small at the moment. When the list grows, I might consider using the group feature to group them up so that I can also use group to broadcast news and infos.

Thanks for the great tip.

Bbm groups quickly became a very important aspect of my BlackBerry experience. I first used it only for work, but from there it has grown to be both work and play. Friends, family, road trips, sport groups, etc etc... I couldn't live with out it now!!! Its come to the place where I message in a BBM group more often than just bbm chat...

I never know who has BB or not and never really use the group part of BBM, just the SMS part, were the people i do text donot have a BB or if they do no BIS plan

My sisters n a lot of my cousins have berrys so we have a group to share common convos n pics n stuff. I had one for all my friends with COD for PS3 too lol. Great tool.

Here in Indonesia, blackberry has become a must have device..Now everybody almost never use SMS anymore because of the BBM. And I agree with sirhil if u need something in writing just do the chat in BBM and then save the chat. It really helps if I urgently need to agree with my colleague/s about something..yeah, even if I urgently wanted to reach an agreement on an issue with my colleagues, we can chat in conference chat or BB group and save the chat..

I have 4 active BB groups in my storm and never have any problem at all even to sync my bb with outlook. For battery, my storm battery can only last for 12 hours, give or, I always charge the phone whenever i have chance. For the memory, at least i have to reset my device every morning, meterberry has already takes care of it.

I don't use bbm (or any form of IM) at all, in fact, I've deleted it from every bb I've had. IMing is no use to me, I can email, text or mms someone if I need to contact or send something that a phone call won't accomplish. I don't need it for work, & to me it is an annoyance to receive IMs that are conversational since I usually don't have time to stop & respond. Plus I have no family that own bbs, & no friends or coworkers that I'd be interested in IMing. I just don't have any reason to use any IM platform, especially one that limits my contacts to owners of a particular brand of device.

bbm groups (& bbm) are the best! I belong to several groups where the conversation is always great. Never a dull moment! Some of the groups I belong to are for blackberry enthusiasts, themes & theme building, tech questions, life- the list is endless. I have learned a lot from these groups & meet some super cool people! If you want to join one of our SHOCK groups (theme's, tech, great people, etc) pin us at 22E16919

I love my bbm group. I used it as a conversion tactic to get my two good friend to make the switch to a . My group I'm sure is one of the very few out there from a religious aspect. If ur Pagan/Wiccan and want to join pin me @ 22E3C35E for an invite. I wouldn't know what to do without my bbm group!

I love BBM groups. My wife and I have created a group together and it's perfect for syncing our calendars regarding my work, our children, doctor's appointments, etc. We used to fight about not telling each other about things we had to do, but the synced group calendar solves that quickly. Now we fight about not remembering ;) It's also great for grocery lists, sharing pictures of the kids or the random things you encounter during the day. My wife wanted to switch to the iPhone on Verizon when it was announced but has stayed because she doesn't want to lose our BBM group.

I also use it with a group of friends who are scattered around the country. The group chat is great for killing time and the shared photos make it a lot easier than sending email to everyone.

BBM Groups are great. I only wish I had more reasons to use them.

I use Groups and I would love to be a part of a real serious one.
Anyone down for a Network Tech (R&D, Q&A) Group feel free to hit me up: 312C58A8
Dissions can include Home or Business networking, Wireless tips, Bandwith selection, Hardware setup and OS configurations.
I've got 20 years of computer experience. I'm advance but I don't claim to be an expert. Still I know how hard it is to get good information (sometimes even on the spot.) I run a Hybrid Blackberry and Home Networked Media Server. All Geeks are welcome.

If i could be in groups without having the group default take over my calendar, I'd do it again in a second! Every time I join a group (whether using 8900, 9700, 9780, or 9800) then every appointment I make after that is attached to the group. It doesn't matter what my default is set to, it doesn't help to delete that COD, the only solution is to wipe my device which is a total PITA!! If that didn't happen I'd be back in my groups in a second - so if anyone has an easier solution THAT WORKS, please pass it on!

Idk if you saw my post or not, but I've had the same experience. I tried to find a solution on the internet and didn't have any luck. I don't understand how none of the other people posting to this article don't have the same problem.

Oh how I miss you BBM Group! When my friend jumped ship and went to Android, you became pointless to me. :(

Now we have to wait for another im app to use groups, and for them to be available cross-platform.

I've never use groups. Most of my BBM people went Android, so while this is neat, I don't know that I'll make much use of it anymore.

I know all to much about the BBM Groups. At one time I was revolving aroung 20 Groups at one time. They really don't last long but I have been in 1 group for almost 7 months and its a variety of people from different states in there. Having to many groups will slow ur Blackberry down. This is prolly one drawback of the groups, but it can be fun, until people take stuff personal and serious in groups.

A̶̲̥̅♏ all alone ąπ∂ i got no friends or bbm groups so please anyone there feel free to add pin 21b6b9ef.

I have the Bold 9700 with OS only downfall I found running the Current OS that I am, is the scan feature of barcodes for groups/peeps is not working... I hope this is fixed in later OS systems.

PIN: 22A3B791

Does anyone know how to get blackberry group appointments to sync with outlook? I'd really like to be able to see my group appointments make their way into my desktop calendar ...

1) When I updated to 7.1.0, BBM sent out a new reminder for every group calendar entry I had. That sucked.

2) When I select "View Groups' Calendar" I see all groups calendars. Not just the single group calendar I want to view... HOW DO I VIEW ONLY ONE GROUP CALENDAR?

2b) When you want to select a calendar, you can only select all of the BBM groups to view at once and they are all in the same colour. You cannot view single groups individually.

3) I once blundered and added recurring calendar entry to one of my groups. Once I realized it went in the wrong group; I deleted the entry. Yet three of the members still receive a reminder for it every week?

4) BBM Groups in theory are awesome and for the most part work well... but there is still major room for improvement.