Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

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Benzie
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Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby Benzie » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:08 am

We are going to try something new for our site communications, Chris Ratay has suggested us to go to using Whatsapp app on our phones for chatting about ETA's and current weather conditions at our front range flying sites like Boulder and now we are going to try Lookout. Yes, this is what we already do on the RMHPA twitter feed but not everyone likes the complexity of the twitter, I find it pretty easy to use, but yes I would have to agree it gets pretty busy with other stuff.

What I really like about this app is that it's one platform but you can have multiple groups such as having a group for Boulder and a group for Lookout and so on, putting 140+ members into one group gets very busy and confusing, having separate groups will cut down on confusion. There are also no hashtags to start chatting (less confusing), it's as easy as sending a text. You can also share your location really easy with two clicks, which puts a pin of your location on a map for easy access from all followers, you can also do the same if you want to post pictures.
**If you don't want to be bombarded with dings go into your notifications and turn off the sounds.



*******
So lets get started, if you haven't already done so please down load the app Whatsapp onto your phone and open the app up and create a username preferably your actual name so it shows up correctly on the app when you post. We can't add you to the whatsapp unless you have the app on your phone and open it up at least once.

Once you have the app installed please send me an IM or text me @ (7two03three3three1three5) with your full name and phone number so I can add you to the Lookout Group, I would suggest that you also add yourself to the Boulder group, you can do so by contacting Chris Ratay @ (3zero3two4one6one8one)

it's probably best to be on both groups so you can decide where to fly or how the other site is doing, but that's up to you.

If you are flying Lookout you chat only in the Lookout group and if you are flying Boulder you chat in that group, now lets say you fly to Boulder from Lookout and need a ride or vice versa from Boulder to Lookout, well then send a text on both groups or just one group. You make that call. For sure we will have some kinks to work out but there always are when trying something new.

I'm aware that not everyone likes change, but just give a try and see if you like it. So far it's a hit in Boulder, I know it will work at Lookout and we can do the same for other sites too if need be. If you continue to tweet on RMHPA twitter feed this will not work as well so just try this app only unless you are using twitter for your spot or delorme location

Note: the RMHPA twitter feed will still stay active but will only be used for your Spot or Delorme since Whatsapp doesn't support those devices. Please make sure to change your hashtag on your Spot or Delorme to #RMHPA, the hashtags #landed and #lo are no longer viable.
BENZIE
RMHPA Vice President
SPOT Tracking page: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/face ... KRTQlk6lM3

garyvail
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby garyvail » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:36 am

thanks for setting this up

flytm
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby flytm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:11 am

Ditto! Great work!

rickwyo
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby rickwyo » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:58 am

wtf whatsapp,
just because Chris cannot use Twitter???

impeach :)

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Benzie
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby Benzie » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:38 pm

What I'm finding is that the chatting is a bit intense right now because it's so new for some and there's a lot of non flying chatting going on, but once everyone figures out how to do a simple text again it will go back to being normal with posts about ETA's and Current Conditions, also when you join you will not see any of the past posts that people have made about that specific day of flying.

Please remember to put an actual name in your profile, because if people don't have your name in their contacts it will only come up with a number and a grayed out name to the right of the number and if its says something other then a name then no one will know who is making the post.

Also, I want to remind those that think that this is a forced thing, it is not, just like twitter a couple of us created it to make group texts easier and more universal, folks signed up if they wanted to, if they didn't care to be in the group messaging then that was their choice not to join, this is the same thing, it's just on a much easier platform then twitter. If you want to keep in the loop join the whatsapp group for Lookout and for Boulder or just one or the other it takes two seconds or maybe more depending on how long it takes to download whatsapp.

If after some quality use of the whatsapp application you think its not for you and you would rather go back to using hashtags and @ symbols then by all means go back to twitter, I am not going to stop you.
BENZIE
RMHPA Vice President
SPOT Tracking page: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/face ... KRTQlk6lM3

jjhildebrand1
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby jjhildebrand1 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:52 pm

WhatsApp, from my understanding, is internet-based free messaging, right? This means that for it to work, your phone needs to be in range of data service or have a wifi connection, and when you're not in range then the WhatsApp won't work. Correct me if I'm wrong. My issue with this, is WhatsApp requires coverage!!! Maybe if we're flying along the front range then that's fine and dandy, but not all of us fly the front range exclusively, or stay in the states. Additionally, if you land or crash into an area without service then the functionality of WhatsApp will not work. That's where a Spot, or InReach, or other, has a better chance to saves lives. Apps don't. Just realize the limitations of each platform and use them accordingly.

I fully believe that RMHPA's twitter platform is superior in this manner. If someone doesn't want to invest $200 some bucks for a GPS device, with an annual fee, e.g. for a Spot, for their safety, then they need to rethink their sport choices, or only stick to areas with guaranteed coverage.

We can't have half the club using one platform and the other half using another. For safety purposes, and efficiency in finding our buddies (such as a direct link to our location on a map, supplied by the the said Spot service), we need to stick with one platform, and that, at this time, from what I've seen out there is where twitter shines. I believe that most will not want to monitor/manage two platforms, and if you do, be aware of the each platform's limitations.

I think GPS-linked twitter feeds (e.g. Spot) are the safest choice right now, and that should be the default for everyone. If you've crashed in said canyon without coverage then you won't see your Spot twitter feed, but others will. The WhatsApp should be viewed as an add-on.
, ) jake

flytm
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby flytm » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:58 am

Jake, sweetheart, baby...
Doesn't Twitter require the same cellular data access?

Agree one reliable resource would work best. Maybe the club can sponsor a nice little handbook with illustrations and instructions.

jjhildebrand1
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby jjhildebrand1 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:17 am

Indeed Tim: Twitter requires internet access/data coverage, however, as long as at least one person that is on the Twitter feed has access/coverage then they will get your Spot message. Like I mentioned, "If you've crashed in said canyon without coverage then you won't see your Spot twitter feed, but others will." Hope that helps clarify!
, ) jake

Ed Williams
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby Ed Williams » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:46 am

This undermines the usefulness of the Twitter feed's landing and emergency notifications. If people stop paying attention to Twitter, which they will, they will stop seeing these messages which is horrible. The only disadvantage of Twitter is....ads, and shorter tweets...but it an't so bad....a thought anyway.

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Benzie
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby Benzie » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:53 am

This undermines the usefulness of the Twitter feed's landing and emergency notifications. If people stop paying attention to Twitter, which they will, they will stop seeing these messages which is horrible. The only disadvantage of Twitter is....ads, and shorter tweets...but it an't so bad....a thought anyway.


Ed, good point, but since the advent of text messages have you stopped reading your emails? Probably not since they both serve a different purpose, whatsapp group chat serves a different easier purpose then twitter for group messaging but not for gps tracking.

Since we can't get your gps tracker / spot location on whatsapp you and everyone else should keep a reminder to check twitter to see where folks landed. I think twitter will be very useful for when you are not connected to a cell tower 95% of the time, like being in the mountains. I used to have my tweets notifications turned off because of all the traffic from members tweets, now that it's limited to just landing out I turned it back on. I still check it as I'm sure others will too, I also constantly check Dave Wheelers xc find website to track peoples flights and see where they land so there's always that application to finding folks. I think this is better then twitter but not everyone is hooked into that system so I have to check both.

We really need to push more pilots into having a some sort of gps tracking system and not only rely on a cell based system like whatsapp. Yes, it is totally possible that many folks may say that they don't need a gps tracker like spot because I can send my location via whatsapp. So, we need educated the point that a gps tracker is great for when you are unable to text due to loss of cell service (which will happen), your battery died on your phone, you crashed and can't get to your phone in your back pocket or harness or worst case you are left unconscious, these points to keep or purchase your first gps tracking device need to be pushed as just another form of safety communication, keeping the link like twitter needs to be kept and will work as long as people like you and I keep using it.

There are so many different forms of communication and yes some may just go away in time due to better and easier ways. So far we have 43 participants with the Lookout whatsapp, just check it out and see what you think...
BENZIE
RMHPA Vice President
SPOT Tracking page: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/face ... KRTQlk6lM3

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Rick M
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby Rick M » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:11 pm

If I may, I think people are getting a few different needs confused. I think these needs can be boiled down to three main categories.

1. A convenient way to coordinate getting together to fly.
2. A way to publicly announce a safe landing, a need for a ride, or a need for help.
3. A way to see a person's current or last known position.

#1 is normally done from or near home and almost always while having an Internet connection. The club message board, email, and Twitter have been used for this. Now there is this proposal to replace Twitter with WhatsApp. Any of these options work just fine for this category. This category has no safety component and the Internet is normally always available for this communication.

#2 is largely a safety issue. There are two very different sides to this. The first is the ability to send these messages. The second is the ability to receive these messages. When flying the front range, sending can be done via SPOT, InReach, or cell phone since typically front range flying offers Internet access or at least the ability to send text messages. But when flying in the mountains, it's not uncommon to have no cell coverage and messages can only be sent via satellite with a SPOT or InReach. Receiving these messages is another story. The receiver needs Internet/cell access to receive the emails and text messages sent by the pilot. So this can be broken down into two parts - fellow pilots and club members in a position to receive those messages and fellow pilots in the mountains that are unable to receive the message sent by their flying companions due to lack of cell signal.

#3 is tightly linked to #2. For a curious person at home wanting to see how their buddies are doing on a given day, they can pull up SPOT or InReach share pages and see how the flights or going. More importantly is the ability to locate and help a pilot in need. If a group are in the mountains with no cell coverage, the use of SPOT and InReach don't work well since no one can lookup where the distressed pilot is. People in the group need to head off to an area with cell coverage to access the person's location, then head back to that location.

Given these summaries, I would propose a few things.

1. Let people use WhatsApp or some similar form of Internet based communication to coordinate flying trips and meeting times, etc.
2. People should obtain and use satellite based devices when flying to be able to report their position in flight as well as to send the typical "I've landed", "Need a ride", and "Need Help" message. These device work even when out of cell coverage.
3. There needs to be a simple way for people to setup their satellite devices to send their messages. This has been Twitter until recently when flying Lookout. This is fine for "I've landed OK" and "I need a ride" messages at Lookout. But there needs to be something better for the "I need help" message, especially when flying in the mountains. I typically setup my SPOT with the phone numbers of people I typically fly with. But if they are with me in an area with no cell coverage, they don't get my "I need help" message. There should be a special email such as "needhelp@rmhpa.org", or something similar, that we all put on the "I need help" message of our SPOT/InReach devices. This email address should then get forwarded to some appropriate subset of the club membership and/or sent to the club Twitter feed. This greatly increases the chances of someone in cell coverage taking action to help a fellow pilot in need.
4. As I posted recently in the Safety section of the forum, there needs to be a page on the club website with a link to every member's SPOT/InReach share page so anyone can quickly find a pilot's location. This way, if a pilot goes missing, it's easy to find their last known position based on their track.
Rick
H4 (FL - ST - FSL - AT - TUR) - U2 160
SPOT: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/face ... u2iST01KJP

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Benzie
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby Benzie » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:37 pm

There should be a special email such as "needhelp@rmhpa.org", or something similar, that we all put on the "I need help" message of our SPOT/InReach devices. This email address should then get forwarded to some appropriate subset of the club membership and/or sent to the club Twitter feed. This greatly increases the chances of someone in cell coverage taking action to help a fellow pilot in need.


Great idea Rick,

4. As I posted recently in the Safety section of the forum, there needs to be a page on the club website with a link to every member's SPOT/InReach share page so anyone can quickly find a pilot's location. This way, if a pilot goes missing, it's easy to find their last known position based on their track.


This is the link you are looking for, you can be added to this service with a contribution to the costs of developing and running this site.
Suggested amount: Ind: $20/year, Comps: $5/pilot.

http://xcfind.paraglide.us/
BENZIE
RMHPA Vice President
SPOT Tracking page: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/face ... KRTQlk6lM3

davidhach
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A 4 day review

Postby davidhach » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:52 am

Here's a review after using the Whatsapp Chat for the past 4 days.

Overall, I'm much happier with Whatsapp over Twitter. I'll preface this by saying Whatsapp is not a replacement for a Spot or Delorme, but can be a replacement for Twitter for coordinating plans. The fact is, even after a lot of tutorials and assistance, many people could not figure out how to properly use the hashtag system. It was a band-aid fix for our mass communication, but it was the best option at the time. That time has passed. Just like Twitter killed plan coordination on the forum 3 years ago, Whatsapp has killed coordinating flying plans on Twitter.

For coordinating flying plans (everything that is non-emergency), Whatsapp is undeniably a better system. I've been using it the past four days and it's just simply better than Twitter. Whatsapp is a better platform for communicating non-emergency locations, ETA's, real-time conditions, rides, and occasional banter. There is no delay for your message to be re-tweeted, and no character limit. Notifications are more easily configurable and threads can be easily muted for when you don't want to be disturbed. There's also a handy "pin-drop" feature for sending out your location to the group.

The disadvantage of Whatsapp is that at first the conversation was a bit off topic and a little too busy. Benzie solved this by creating a new thread specifically for general chat/banter. There will probably be growing pains as people figure it out. I have the banter conversation muted so that I only receive updates related to flying plans. I also found I had to turn off the vibrate notification for Whatsapp. I was worried for the first few hours that I would have to opt out due to the prolific number of posts, but the conversation over the past few days has stayed on topic to flying.

In regards to safety:
Yes, Whatsapp only works when you have cellular service. It does not replace a Spot or Delorme. I, for one, still receive the Twitter notifications. I would also encourage everyone to also have their Spot or Delorme post to their Facebook page, which is much more heavily trafficked than Twitter is anyway. If your 10 emergency contacts are also set up correctly for text and email alerts, I do not see why these two systems cannot coexist without any loss of safety or visibility of emergency notifications. I will continue to receive Twitter notifications, and I believe that as Twitter posts become less frequent I will be more inclined to pay attention to the ones that do come through (knowing that they are coming from a Spot/Delorme device). Don't forget that in a true emergency, when you hit the bad button it automatically calls first responders for you regardless of whether it's posted to Twitter.

To those not on board with the Whatsapp system, I'd encourage you to give it a try for a week or two.

scotts
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby scotts » Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:57 pm

I've been using WhatsApp for the past year and its been a Great messaging app. Unfortunately, its recently been bought out by Facebook and there are no options to prevent Facebook from spying on you and stealing your data, so I'm giving up on it for now. Damn shame. Just do a quick web search "WhatsApp Facebook" and you'll find countless articles on it for further reading and latest updates..
Scott S.
P4; skywalk Chilli3S; Mesa, AZ of all places!
Get busy living!

Stone
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Re: Let try something new...Whatsapp Chat

Postby Stone » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:24 pm

I'm wondering if folks think WhatsApp is taking away from the usefulness or value of this forum. Based on the WhatsApp discussion over the last couple weeks, it looks some people had really good XC flights on the front range and in eastern CO... and someone is looking for a used wing. Also, plans for Otto's have been made and scrapped (twice), and there was a great reserve parachute repack last Friday and maybe another one to come this Friday.

I think it's unfortunate that none of that information is here. As I new pilot, I would enjoy seeing pictures/video and learning about who flew where and how they did it. For me, one centralized source for all the club happenings are valuable... without having to scroll through 20 or 40 messages I missed if I haven't read the WhatsApp thread in a couple days. I understand the convenience of being able to message from the phone but I think it takes away from the knowledge base and calendar that gets compiled here. What do you think?


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