It’s true that you can adjust Facebook to let you share things to a few selected people, but why not try to use a web service which is specifically built to cater to this need? Meet Minigroup – a web tool that will help you create your own small private groups to share posts, files, and events.
Let’s Get The Groups Going
The first step you need to do to create your private online groups is to sign up for the service. Fill in all the required fields, set your time zone, upload a photo, and click the red “Create my account” button.
After the signing up step, you can start creating your groups. Click the “+ Create a group” button under your profile picture.
You can also watch the introduction video to get familiar with the features.
Give a name and description for your group, upload a photo – preferably a picture of all the group members, then click “Next“. If you want to give permission for your group members to invite others to join, check the “Allow members …” box.
Minigroup allows you to customize your profile just for the group. You could upload another photo, use an alias, and give a different self description visible only on that specific group.
Click the “Create the group” button, and…
Posts, Events, And Group Members
Congratulations! You’ve just created your first group. There are four visible tabs in the group view: “Post” is a chronological summary of everything that you’ve shared with the group, while the other three are items filtered by type.
You can create blog-like posts by clicking the “+ New post” button on the top right area of the page.
You can also create events and invite others to join using the “+ Create an event” and “+ Invite people” buttons on the left sidebar.
The posting process is fairly simple: you write the title and the body, then click the “Post” button.
You can add any kind of files to your post by clicking the red “Attach …” link. The files will be uploaded to Minigroup. Please be warned that each group has a 250MB storage limit. While this limit is fine for text documents and small images, you would want to think twice before uploading a 30 minute vacation video.
The post will appear on the group page. While images will be displayed along with the post, other kind of attachments will only be available as a download.
Creating a new event is also quite straightforward. You fill in the start time (and end time if you want), give a title, location, and a short description of the event.
Other group members can respond to the event by choosing one of the buttons: “Attend“, “Maybe“, and “Decline“.
You can invite people to join your group by entering their email addresses or choosing from the existing members.
You can also create an invitation link and share the link with others. Be careful though, as anybody with the link could join the group.
You can view all the existing groups under your account by clicking the “Groups” tab.
Quick Post With Bookmarklet
To help users post web materials to their Minigroup account, Minigroup provides us with a bookmarklet. You can find the bookmarklet link on the left sidebar under your profile picture. Or you could also click the “Tools” link at the bottom of the page.
On the Tools page, drag and drop the “Share on Minigroup” blue button to your browser’s bookmark bar.
Using the bookmarklet is easy – click it whenever you have found a nice article on the web that you want to share to one of your groups.
A quick post window will appear. If you select any part of the article, the selected part will appear on the window. You can choose to send the article to one of your groups or to specific members of the groups.
After playing around with Minigroup for a while, I found the tool to be fun and useful. If you prefer interactions within small private online groups instead of broadcasting your status to the world, then you should try Minigroup.
What do you think of Minigroup? Do you use similar web services? Please share them using the comments below.