Each communications medium offers unique power. E-mail is asynchronous and can broadcast “one-to-many.” IM and e-mail can be done on a PC and with a proper keyboard. IM and phone calls are instantaneous. SMS and cell phones calls catch people away from their desks, and grab attention by audibly ringing the phone.
A new service called Joopz combines the power of each of these media into one.
Joopz is a Web site that lets you send SMS text messages from a Web browser. Big deal, right? But check this out: You can send to groups, not just individuals, and reply to their replies. You can schedule messages. And you can forward conversations from the Web to your cell phone.
Those capabilities give Joopz advantages from the other four media: It’s one-to-many like e-mail, instantaneous like phone calls, can be done from a PC like IM, and audibly rings the phone like SMS.
I’ll give you some tips below that suggest how you might use these Joopz capabilities to be a more effective boss and a more productive person. But first, let me tell you how Joopz is different from other browser-to-phone text messaging services.
There are perhaps dozens of Web-to-text services out there. Some of those services don’t allow replies. Others allow replies, but only to your phone. Joopz allows you to get your replies on the same page where you sent the messages. It’s like instant messaging, but potentially one-to-many, then many back to one, and to cell phones rather than PCs.
If you’re in the middle of a conversation, and gotta run, you can “forward” a Joopz conversation to your phone, and continue with “regular” SMS.
Like e-mail, but unlike most SMS, phone call or IM sessions, Joopz can “record” your chat, so you don’t have to take notes to capture all the details.
When you start a group chat, you can be in “Broadcast mode,” where the replies come back only to you, or “Chat mode,” where the replies go to everybody.
You can set up several “groups,” give each a name, then in the future “broadcast” to each group by simply sending to each group’s name.
Joopz works with most, but not all, North American carriers, including Cingular/AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Virgin Mobile.
Meeting reminders. One of the biggest time and money wasters in business is meetings. If ten people are invited to a meeting, and a couple people show up 15 minutes late, you’ve wasted two and a half man-hours before the meeting even starts. By broadcasting a meeting reminder five minutes before the meeting starts, you kill excuses for being late, and make sure everyone gets the reminder – even those away from their desks.
Wake up calls. If you really can’t afford to sleep in, use Joopz as your own wake-up call service, by scheduling an SMS. And if you really want to make sure your meeting goes well, set up a wake up call for colleagues as well.
Urgent information to groups. Let’s say you have a meeting, and five minutes before it starts the meeting has changed. You can quickly broadcast the new details to everyone in the meeting.
Set “calendar reminders” – for others. If you ask someone to do something, you hope they add it to their calendar, sync their calendar with their phone, and get the reminder on their phone. But setting up a Joopz reminder is like adding an item to their calendar yourself.
Give yourself “just in time” information. Schedule messages just when you land in a new city with the rental car and hotel information you’ll need. Remind yourself a few days in advance about upcoming anniversaries, birthdays and other events.
Joopz is free for sending up to 10 messages per month. The “Premium” version costs $2.95 per month or $19.95 per year.
Joopz is powerful. It gives you the advantages of SMS – immediacy, mobility and audible alert that your message is there – and removes the disadvantages.
Use it. And take advantage of it. But, whatever you do, don’t tell anyone about it.
In addition to writing for Datamation, where this column first appeared, Mike Elgan is a technology writer and former editor of Windows Magazine. He can be reached at [email protected] or his blog: http://therawfeed.com.