BlackBerry 101 - BBM Groups 

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?