My mom (bless her) tried semi-successfully to start a group text last night with our extended family to discuss a summer gathering.

Someone mentioned GroupMe & I'm thinking if people are up for a new app, I'll suggest Signal or Zom (hat tip: @switchingsocial).

Feels like Signal is a more known entity (esp. regarding security), but Zom looks *incredibly* easy.

Just wondering if anyone has real-world experience with/opinions about either.

@mattlaff no real suggestions, but I'm incredibly interested in this space. Worked at a startup a few years ago that tried to "solve" group travel planning but couldn't make much headway. But I still think the "how do we get friends/family to make decisions together" is an interesting problem space and I think there's a gap in products to help with that.

@levi It definitely feels like you're right about the gap in products for easy group planning. Loomio does look pretty slick, but the trial is only for 20 people, and we're definitely not paying $50/month for it.

@levi Ha! Right? I think there's definitely a market for this, though I admit that in my ideal world, there's a free, easy, decentralized solution :)

@levi I've got no proper tech skills to contribute, but I'll gladly be a test user :)

@ajroach42 Yeah, that's my main hesitation. I mean, *I* feel like it's pretty easy, but I don't have a great grasp of the tech ability of the older & more distant family members.

The tech nerd in me immediately wanted to suggest Signal, but when I downloaded Zom to check it out, I was honestly kind of shocked by how easy it was (to the point that I immediately questioned how secure it is, but I'm trusting that the @switchingsocial recommendation means it's secure enough).


By the way, whatever you choose, please let us know how it goes :)

It would be great to hear real world non-techie feedback about these alternatives.

About security on Zom, my understanding is it uses Omemo which is the best form of security for XMPP apps:

But isnt signal as easy as whatsapp? Cause tbh whatsapp does not seem too diffucult, even ny granma does it
@ajroach42 @switchingsocial

@thoughtcrime I've never actually used WhatsApp, but I'd believe that; Signal is plenty easy. Zom just struck me as even easier; you don't even have to sign up with a phone number, just think of a username and you're in.

That said, I ended up suggesting Signal to my mom (who's trying to coordinate the conversation with her family) but I think she's going to just default back to a big email thread.

Maybe next year ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

@ajroach42 @switchingsocial @mattlaff
Impossible to find Zom on the app store, maybe it's only on the US store. The website is nice, the app looks super friendly (really focused on non geek people).
Signal is a little bit more nerdy, bit it's way easier to use (and understand) than before.
I made switch many non tech-savvy friends to use it.

@skynebula @mattlaff @ajroach42

Darn! Did not know that. Thanks for the headsup, very weird that they would restrict an open source app like this...

@mattlaff @skynebula

Another easy to use option if you have Android is Quicksy, which is a version of Conversations aimed at beginners. You can register with just your phone number:

It's XMPP too, so you can chat together on a mixture of Quicksy, Zom and any other XMPP app such as Conversations. They're all compatible.

@switchingsocial @mattlaff @skynebula
Well, the downside to Quicksy is that it's just another isolated XMPP-based messenger. :mastoface_with_rolling_eyes:
Quicksy only works easily if you upload your phone's address book to their server. After that Quicksy will suggest other Quicksy users from your contact list...

@tetrapyloctomist @mattlaff @skynebula

The Quicksy site says on its front page:

"...users on Quicksy can be contacted from the outside simply by adding [email protected] to your contact list."

so it does communicate with other XMPP servers.

@switchingsocial @mattlaff @skynebula
Yes, but establishing connections to users on other instances is unnecessarily complicated for #quicksy users. 😒
And this is due to Quicksy's commercial interest: if users from another XMPP instance want to appear in Quicksy's search for other users, they have to pay 4.99 € to have XMPP address added to Quicksy's contact database 🧐

@tetrapyloctomist @mattlaff @skynebula

Ah, didn't know that... I guess that covers the cost of the server though?

It is ok to charge for services as long as it is done transparently.

@switchingsocial @mattlaff @skynebula
Besides - if I'm not a #quicksy user, I can't see who has already registered their phone numbers there and contact them. In order for me to contact Quicksy users, they still need to tell me their complete XMPP address.
So from my point of view there is no real improvement in facilitating communication 😒

@switchingsocial @mattlaff @skynebula
And yes, technically you could also find any other XMPP user - if only they'd all be willing to pay 5€ to register their phone number and their XMPP user name with Quicksy 🤔
(or have been lured to pay 8 €/a for a subscription with for a service you can get for free in hundreds of places - in that case, their registration with Quicksy would be "free") :mastozany:

From Zom's build metadata file ( the latest version requires proprietary dependencies which isn't allowed in F-Droid. Additionally, the goal is to include the original .apk signed by Zom's developers, but so far we weren't able to reproduce their .apk.

Help on bringing Zom into F-Droid is highly appreciated!

CC: @thoughtcrime @switchingsocial @mattlaff @skynebula @ajroach42

@ajroach42 @switchingsocial @mattlaff
I second the +1 for Signal.
If you're willing to share your contacts' phone numbers, Signal seems be the most trust-invoking non-federating platform.
And signing up for Signal is not any more demanding than signing up for WA... :mastowink:

@mattlaff @switchingsocial I couldn't say enough good things about Signal, personally. Haven't used the other so can't comment there.


Signal is exactly as easy to set up as any other Instant Messenger. With Zom you have to find a public Jabber server and register there first.

@Sturmflut @mattlaff

Unlike most XMPP apps, you don't need to find a public server on Zom. That's why I recommend it on

@mattlaff Oh, looks like that has changed then. That makes it much more interesting, thanks

@mattlaff @switchingsocial
We use Signal on the farm. Great for group chats, and I love being able to secure video conference with my daughter and 1 year old granddaughter!

@GoatsLive @mattlaff @switchingsocial any issues from non technical people using signal? I want to move my family off WhatsApp.

@teleclimber @mattlaff @switchingsocial
None on my end. My NOT technical daughter, and 89 year old father in law had no problems installing and using it. We all use the Android application, and I also have the Linux desktop software installed on my and my wife's computer. It was really quite simple.

@GoatsLive @teleclimber Love this. Might have to recommend Signal first, I think. Not sure if the family will go for it, but it's worth a shot!

@mattlaff @switchingsocial another +1 for Signal. We use it for family group messages. Works great for both geeks and noobs.


Can anybody say what makes Signal better/more secure than XMPP with OMEMO?

@mattlaff @switchingsocial

@mattlaff @switchingsocial *Everyone* in my family is on Signal, from cousins in their teens to my 91-year old grandpa. It is very easy to use.

@mattlaff @switchingsocial just start a family slack group and make it more complicated haha!

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