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New Year, Who Dis(cord)? Introducing Our New Platform, and Why We’re Making the Shift

Look How Far We’ve Come

Two years ago, Women of the Wasatch was founded. The small-but-mighty crew banded together with a shared love of getting outside, hitting the trails together, and empowering other women to do the same. What started as a group of fewer than 10 people quickly exploded to include over 650 members with multiple chapters across Northern Utah.

And quite frankly? It’s been rad! We love seeing more and more women come together around their shared love for trail running.

But here’s the thing: having a group message with 10 people is a whole lot different from having one with 650. And while we love and appreciate GroupMe for many reasons, it’s clear that we need to make a shift to better meet the needs of this community.

Growing Pains

With the explosive growth WoW has seen over the past few years, we’ve encountered difficulties with using GroupMe to communicate. These include:

  • Finding old messages? Difficult, if not impossible. Nobody wants to scroll forever to find information, and the search doesn’t pull up clear results. This results in people asking the same kinds of questions repeatedly even if they know it’s been asked before– it’s just too hard to find old info.

  • Organization of messages? Not a thing. All messages are in one big feed. This can be everything–including replies to people on a certain topic, events, questions, etc. This makes it difficult to keep track of conversations and frustrating to ping the entire group just to respond to one person.

  • Different chapters, entirely different groups. Needing to join a different GroupMe for various chapters and subgroups can be an annoyance. Members have to check several different places for information, and many do not even know that subgroups exist!

Enter: Discord

As an organization, we strive to make decisions with the best interests of the group in mind, and try to ensure these decisions align with the group’s wants and needs. Based on the pain points discussed above, it was clear we needed to make a shift in the way we communicated with members. Several weeks ago, a poll was sent out with some options of platforms we could transition to, as well as an option to stay with our current platform.

After considering all of the options, it became clear that Discord was the strongest option for our community. For those wondering–Yes, we considered Slack! But Slack was originally intended for businesses, and Discord for communities and organizations. Asking folks to pay a monthly subscription cost for Slack (which would be necessary to support our group’s needs) didn’t feel aligned with our mission of making trail running more accessible, especially since Discord shares so many of the same features.

Here are a few of the key benefits of Discord:

  • Channels: These are, essentially, subgroups that live in the same main group. They allow you to be in one app, in one group, but view a variety of organized subgroups such as announcements, other chapters, trail conditions, resources, recommendations, and so much more. It’s easy to start new channels and everyone has access to the information in them. This keeps chats organized in their appropriate spaces.

  • Threads: This also helps organize conversations, as they allow members to reply to specific topics without pinging the entire channel or group. Discord has the option to reply similarly to how you do on GroupMe (to the entire crew) or create a thread that will organize that conversation just to that message (we will demo this in a video tutorial!)

  • Pinned messages and announcements: These will help us communicate better to the group and will prevent announcements from getting buried by general group conversation.

  • Events: Because there are different channels within Discord, it’s easy to have events (and necessary info about them) in a common, easily-accessible place

  • Ease of access: Discord is free and incredibly easy to join! There is a join link that can be shared and you can sign in via whatever option you choose. Discord is supported on both web browsers and mobile devices, making it easier for folks to use the platform on the device that’s best for them.

Okay, Cool! What Now?

First things first, join our new Discord! We can’t wait to see you there.

Next, for those feeling overwhelmed (or like they could simply use a bit more guidance), check out our video demonstration and tour of Discord. In it, we cover everything the app can do and walk you through how to navigate our new platform.

Finally, we know that change can be difficult, and ask that you keep an open mind. We want this transition to be as positive as possible, and we are making this shift so we can best meet the needs of our (ever-growing!) group. Our phase out of GroupMe will be slow, and it will be kept open for the next month (through the end of January). We are available for questions and help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out! We are excited to improve our communications and feel strongly that this transition will be instrumental in achieving that.

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