Tech Review: LoopNote - Churches in the loop?

I discovered a new website today via TechCrunch. It's called LoopNote and looks very interesting...particularly for churches.

LoopNote is essentially a group notification system that allows anyone to create a "loop" to which people can join (and thus are in that particular loop). The "loop" can be about anything. It could be for a band that wants to notify people about upcoming shows or a community sports team that wants to give updates on games or rain outs.

What will make LoopNote work is that it allows you to choose your method of notification. If you want email notifications, you'll get an email. If you would prefer a text message on your cell phone, you'll get it that way. If you use instant messaging a lot, you can get it that way. Or maybe you just want to get it through an RSS feed...and that's available too. With so many options to get the message it seems like a handy way to reach more people effectively.

Though this technology is nothing new to people familiar with similar features on social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace, the unique thing that LoopNote presents is this technology without the need to be a part of one of those networks.

Churches in the Loop?
Here's where I think churches could find a benefit with LoopNote...churches are:
A) organizations that require regular communication to people about a variety of topics
B) notorious for not communicating well
That being said LoopNote seems like it would have a variety of uses in most churches. Here are a few examples:

  • Small Group notifier - whatever type of small group/Sunday school method your church may take, this could be a great way to communicate with the people in the groups
  • Worship Service announcements - recap Sunday's announcements on Monday with a loop reminder
  • Weekly message announcement - at the end of each week the church could send a message to the loop with the coming Sunday's message title and a brief statement about what you could hope to learn or some questions for consideration leading up to Sunday.
  • Playdates - I know my church has groups of moms who designate different days to get their kids together to play. With the text message feature, this loop would get the word out about last minute changes more effectively.
  • Staff communications - in larger churches things change really fast and staff are not all in the same offices together. The staff could set up a private loop to be notified of everything from urgent needs to staff meeting changes.
On a side note, I don't know that the creators of LoopNote intend for the system to be a content distribution mechanism, but it certainly could be. For instance a church could use LoopNote to send out daily or weekly devotionals.

LoopNote looks like it's got some significant promise. It's early on (they just launched for the public) and the adoption level will make or break it, but the idea seems solid and looks like it could really meet a need.


Joe said...

Haven't looked at this myself, but it might help wean churches off Yahoo Groups! :) There are literally tens of thousands of church small groups using Yahoo groups for their notifications, reminders, and messages now...

The SMS sounds very cool...

ps. sorry for the shameless plug, but we're very interested in providing group functionality without the need to be a part of the network too :)

Jon Haarstad said...

Great find! I'm coordinating a ski/snowboard group that is a quasi-small group and this type of notification is exactly what I need in that I can get out brief updates on dates and times to those that are interested.

Also - this is another site/tool using a newer web language called Ruby on Rails (which I happen to be learning at the moment). This is an incredibly powerful new framework that has been churning out some great new web tools including Basecamp and Backpack

Alan said...

hi everyone, thanks for the great write up and the positive comments. Your ideas are right on the mark. We're about to add a new feature to let you invite people to a loop a lot easier. This will really help loop owners get the word out. I hope you use and enjoy the service and please don't hesitate to let us know how we can make things better. Thanks! Alan -co-founder of loopnote

Bill Seaver said...

Thanks guys. Alan, thanks for the update on the coming feature.