November 18th, 2009
ccSync: Bringing the chatroom and IRC dynamic to SMS with group texting
[Full disclosure: I have consulted with ccSync in the past before they reconfigured their product offering. I was pre-briefed on the launch of this product, but I have not been involved in the launch planning.]
For all the cool Web apps, iPhone apps, and mobile technologies, few things beat SMS for market penetration. That’s what makes it so great. Next to actually calling someone on the phone—but I mean, who does that?—texting is the easiest way to communicate with folks. Because practically anyone carrying a phone in their pocket can send and receive SMS messages—so long as their data plan I allows it.
So as far as having SMS? Great. But using SMS only works for very particular applications. Like one-to-one conversations. If you want to use that technology to communicate with three different people, you’re going to wind up sending that message three different times.
If only there were some way to talk to a group of people—in a controlled confidential way, not a public Twitter way—using this nearly ubiquitous technology. Well, now there is. Introducing ccSync.
With Portland-based ccSync, you can assemble and manage a group of people by adding their phone numbers. Those folks are pinged that they’ve been added to your group. And then suddenly, your text messages begin to resemble a chatroom or—for the more techie types—IRC. Every message goes to every person in the group. Voila. Group SMS.
Best of all? No short codes. No special tags or keywords. One phone number for one group. Add that group to your contacts and go. Get invited to another group? It’s a completely different number—and a new contact for you to track.
But what if you don’t want every message via SMS or “WTF? don’t want 2 type things on phone frm my desk”? Well, ccSync has thought of that too. You can turn off the SMS messages in favor of using email. And you can also respond to incoming messages via email or through the ccSync site. Giving you the option of using that full size keyboard you’re using at your computer.
Now, if you’ve got a bunch of chatty folks with nothing but time on their hands, this may not be the best service for you. But if you have a group of people whom you need to contact with short snippets of information—and allow them to respond quickly—it could be the perfect service for you.
Customer support? Project teams? Event management? Running Ignite Portland? Coordinating with writers on a tech blogs? Trying to get a product out the door? They all seem like pretty good applications of this groupthink version of SMS. And I’m sure there are dozens you can imagine. What’s more, for folks working in groups and trying to get stuff done, there are some instances where this type of connectivity—with its ability to be connected to everyone no matter where they are or what type of phone they’re carrying—beats more traditional forms of communication—conference calls, email, IM, even IRC—hands down.
Sounds cool doesn’t? Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that ccSync is currently available in beta. The bad news is that it’s a private beta. So you’re going to have to wait behind the velvet rope.
But I’d recommend that you wait until they call your name. And give it a shot. Just as important, I’d love to hear how you’re using it.