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Group Chats Help Dan Learn

Engineer Dan Grimes is enjoying the benefits of Signal

When you want to learn about a new radio technology and want to discuss it with peers, where do you turn? Facebook? A legacy listserv? An internal email group at your company?

Dan Grimes, a maintenance engineer at SOS Radio Network, is part of a chat group on the secure messaging app Signal that discusses engineering stuff. He finds this much more efficient than networking on broader social media.

“Facebook and Instagram are good, but it’s the one-to-ones like Signal and WhatsApp that I like. On other platforms, someone will say ‘Look what I did’ and everybody thinks ‘I want to do that,’ but you have to go off and start researching it. On Signal when someone says ‘Look what I did,’ you can ask them ‘How?’ and get some real answers immediately.”
Dan discovered Signal when he joined a bible study chat group. He and several engineering colleagues then formed a group called Multi-Gen, a name chosen because the group includes a range of ages including several young engineers. 

He thinks the best size for one of these little private communities is around a dozen people. “If you get too many people it gets to be real noisy. You have to have a balance, enough people doing different things to keep it interesting while keeping the chat down and making it functional.”

Signal is free and owned by a nonprofit; it uses your phone’s data connection. It emphasizes privacy and a lack of ads or tracking. You can make voice and video calls with no long-distance charges; you can share text, voice messages, photos, videos and files. But it’s the group chat that Dan likes best.

Do you have a favorite way of connecting with peers? Let me know at [email protected].

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