Key Help Links
- Get started with this quick start guide.
- Want to ask us to add or change something? Make suggestions here or, to give us ongoing early feedback sign up here.
- Looking for our help desk? It's in our Socialroots Community group! If you don't see it in your navigation, let us know and we'll add you.
Once you've read Getting Started, if you'd like more detail, choose from some common first actions here:
- I found Socialroots in my inbox. What IS this?
- I've just been invited to my first Socialroots group.
- I'm creating my first Socialroots group.
- When should I start notes using Socialroots?
- I'd like to see a feature overview.
I found Socialroots in my inbox. What is this?
If you are discovering Socialroots via an email you received, you were added to a group or received a note, and you are in for a treat! We are a cross-group communication and collaboration tool that helps groups simplify communication streams, stay out of overwhelm, and more effectively engage with each other.
We hear loud and clear that signing up for yet another thing is a chore, so: Yay! no account creation needed. To participate in a conversation, return to your original note in email to reply, or to click to see the original note and other replies in context. For group invitations, just click
Join and Connect. Boom! Done. No sign-up required. No more reply-alls! You'll get a regular notification of new activity, so you stay in the loop without tangled email threads.
If you do choose to sign up, our web app offers:
- a workspace to see and sort your conversations from any group in one place,
- the ability to see more about groups you are in: dashboards, membership, profile, and more
- the ability to create your own groups and subgroups and start notes.
First Socialroots group invitation
Congratulations on your invitation! Did you click JOIN in your email to accept the invitation?
If not, do that. If you did, you are good to go.
If you'd like full access to a group's space, including the dashboard, members list, and more, you can also set up your account, go to that group, and explore, but that's not required. Full participation in the conversations you are invited to is possible without login or completing account set up.
Accepting an invitation to a group on Socialroots gives that group permission to email you when new conversations begin. Just like receiving a single note (see the section above), where your email is add manually by someone you know, a group membership aims to keep you out of tangled email threads. You'll get a regular activity summary of recent notes rather than a new email for every new reply. For each note, you can turn your notification frequency up or down. You can also unsubscribe from any group at the bottom of each emailed note or notification.
Creating your first Socialroots group
Way to go! Groups doing great things with other groups is why we exist. To get a group you lead started on Socialroots, simply create a group, and invite a few relevant folks. Learning by doing works well!
To create a group, login and click the [ + ] button in the left hand navigation. Add your group's name and description, your website link if you have one, and a logo or image for easy identification. You can even add other people as you set it up. You now have a group!
Set up your Dashboard
To keep the group aligned, engaged, and clear why they are there and what they can do, it's helpful to set the stage. The group dashboard helps you do that.
Here's a few additional steps we suggest:
- Help people use your group's dashboard: As you set up the dashboard, pretend you know nothing about your group. Is your purpose statement clear? Have you and the other leads added your profile pictures? Do the key links help new people orient? Do you need member requirements? A code of conduct? Is there too much information? Make sure that you have looked at your group from the eyes of a new person.
- Set up a subgroup or two: Groups that set out with 20 subgroups and 3 people are likely to fade. On the other hand, groups with only a main group announcements space have no place for other conversations, and will struggle to cultivate community connections. To generate engagement, try lightly shaping the group structure, while leaving space to see what happens. A few relevant subgroups can help you lead by example. Other members can join as and where they see fit, and gain a better understanding of how the group might grow, or what they may want to do in the group. Not sure what to make first? "Open Discussion" can be a generative one. Do you have a project, discussion topic, or open question that digs into the weeds around your group's purpose? [[Make a subgroup]] to support it and see what happens.
- Begin with a clear announcement: Once you have your group set up, and members have been invited, wait a bit for the invitations to be accepted and then kick off your group by sending your first group note! This gives you a chance to welcome folks, orient them to why the group exists and generally get things rolling. You can also create notes in any subgroup. Notes are only visible to group or subgroup members, unless external people have been addressed. We'll also be adding cross-group addressing soon. You found a stub! This is something we're still working on. Let us know here if you'd like us to prioritize this feature.
From your new group's Directory, click the
Invite button. For more information on invitations see the Invitations section.
If you are curious and would like to know more, here's a couple of options:
- To learn more about how we help untangle email threads, see Notes.
- To see all conversations sent to you via Socialroots, check your Workspace Inbox.
- To start a group on Socialroots for your own organization, community, or project, and help catalyze better coordination, see creating my first Socialroots group.
Socialroots groups are containers for networks, organizations, projects, and more. Want to bring people together towards a common purpose? Start a group.
If this is your first group, see Creating your first Socialroots group.
Here's the basic features every group has:
The group profile is your external-facing About information, and can be found as people explore and interact on Socialroots. It has spaces for the group's name, logo or image, website link, and purpose description.
This is your internal board for key links, and quick access to your members list and current conversations. We'll be adding things here as we hear what you need! You found a stub! This is something we're still working on. Let us know here if you'd like us to prioritize this feature.
This is the space for conversations in the main group, a low-volume flow of important information. By default, only group leaders can start conversations here.
Here, you can see and invite members to your group. A group's Directory has two sections - Organizations and People.
We currently have two options for inviting people, both accessible from the purple
+ Invite button on the upper right of the Directory page.
OPTION 1: Invite by Magic Link
- PRO: You can give a single magic link to anyone to join your group
- PRO: This is a good option when groups are conversing in an existing chat space or convening on a live call, or you don’t have everyone’s email.
- CON: Individuals invited by Magic Link cannot be added to subgroups until they have joined the platform
- CON: The link may not always work on mobile
OPTION 2: invite by Email
- PRO: This is a good option if you have an email list, or want to add individuals to their designated subgroups in advance
- PRO: The link to join will only be shared with the emails you enter
- CON: You need to add everyone’s emails manually
- CON: With email invitations, you may need to remind folks to check their spam folders
This part of the Directory shows the organizations represented by people participating in a group. This feature is still in development, but if you encourage your members to fill out the form linked in the
Connect your Org button, we'll create a directory of organizations for your group.
The names, roles, and contact information for group members can be found here. This page also allows you to invite new members or (if you are a group leader) change their role or remove them from the group.
Roles specify what features each member has permissions to access.
Members with adequate permissions can promote members up to their own role level. Access this from the directory or members pages on your group or subgroup menu, or from the Groups page in your workspace.
In Socialroots, we say, "a group is a group is a group". In other words, subgroups have all the basic features of a group, with two key differences:
- In addition to subgroup leaders, subgroup participants can also send notes.
- The subgroup dashboard contains an additional 'current focus' field, editable in the About Subgroup profile. This allows subgroup members to further help orient new members as they join and collaborate.
Any subgroups created within a group are discoverable on the All Subgroups page. Any that you join will show up just below that, in a collapsable My Subgroups menu.
When to create a subgroup vs a group
One of our first FAQs has been about when to make something a group vs a subgroup. While we anticipate needing to be able to convert one to the other, here's a few ways to think about them:
- Does your space need further division into smaller groups that are more long-lasting than a few conversations? If so, make a group.
- Does your space clearly belong within an existing group, where you collaborate with and/ or trust the leadership and collaboration practices? If so, make a subgroup.
- Groups are often: formal organizations, external communities of an organization, networks with a clear purpose (and often a name and a brand), and informal communities of practice or place that want a space to learn and catalyze connection.
- Subgroups are often: learning cohorts, topical discussion spaces, projects, or functional teams within a larger group context.
Creating group structures can be complex, but your Socialroots groups do not need to perfectly reflect reality. Just get started and change them as you find ways to better support making key information available to people in a given context.
We are also designing support for showing the relationships between groups, and enabling the creation of shared subgroups, that can appear in multiple groups. You found a stub! This is something we're still working on. Let us know here if you'd like us to prioritize this feature.
For more, here's a deeper dive into how we think about team health and the fundamentals of group dynamics. However, before creating any new structures, consider if you might want to start a new note to get the coordination you need done in that lighter container.
Notes on Socialroots allow information to be shared within and between groups. Want to engage your group members, get help, float an idea, plan or announce something? Send a note to start the conversation.
Notes are visible to the members of the subgroup or group where they are created, and to any other individuals or groups addressed.
By default, only group leaders can send a note in to everyone in the group. Subgroup participants and subgroup leaders can create notes in their subgroup.
As the author, you are able to choose:
- to add external email recipients (people not in the group) to a note
- to send an email notification or not
- to flag a note as an action request (keep track of commitments)
- and soon, adding deadlines, events, and more will be possible You found a stub! This is something we're still working on. Let us know here if you'd like us to prioritize this feature.
Notes are integrated with email, allowing for participation without sign-up or login.
Here are the basic features every Socialroots note has:
Author, recipients, title and content
The author of a note is always a person in a given context. The default recipient is the group or subgroup in which a note is created. We are currently designing cross-group notes to allow addressing between and among multiple groups or subgroups. You found a stub! This is something we're still working on. Let us know here if you'd like us to prioritize this feature.)
A short title for your note helps people quickly see the essence of what you want to convey or ask. Text can be formatted and contain hyperlinks.
Adding email recipients
Any non-member email can be added to a note simply by adding their email as an exernal recipient. Recipients can fully participate in conversations without signing up or logging in to Socialroots. They will see only notes they are added to. No other information in the group the note was sent from - only group members can see a group's dashboard, subgroups list, member directory, and other internal information.
While the social signals about who can speak up can be complex, Socialroots is designed to support a new way of listening and participating in groups. Notes in Socialroots replace outdated forums and listservs, untangle email threads, and help people listen to and engage on the things that matter most to them.
Here are some basic guidelines:
- Most obviously, start a new note when you have something new to say that does not already have an obvious active conversation or project around it. Socialroots notes create a lightweight container meant to help people coordinate and step into to action. Does each new project idea or topic need a subgroup? Probably not. Send a no, and see what gains traction in the group.
- When you want to bring a conversation in a different direction, consider creating a new note to keep discussions from being about to 'everything and the kitchen sink'.
- When you are not sure if a note needs to be sent to the whole group, ask a co-lead. That decision is usually best determined by the group norms - just notice how many people you are notifying! Spending attention wisely helps groups be more engaged and effective.
See this post for more about collaborative communication and some basics of what to consider as you compose a note on Socialroots.
Your workspace - accessible by clicking the icon on the upper left of the Socialroots navigation - is your place for a quick view across all your groups of conversations you care about, your group memberships, profile and account information, and activity and contributions.
See and filter all the notes you have participated in across groups, prioritized for you. Scan and assess new action requests and other incoming notes in one spot. Your inbox has no action you need to take, and aims to streamline your personal view of activity across all your groups and networks.
Here, you will be able to see all the groups you are in, and manage membership and invitations to new groups. You found a stub! This is something we're still working on. Let us know here if you'd like us to prioritize this feature.
Does what it says on the tin. Here's where you make changes to your profile picture and information. However, instead of needing a separate profile for each group space you join, this comes along with you for all groups you join with your account.
- Go to your workspace
- Click on 'Profile'
- Click 'Edit profile'
You can make your profile formal or funny, personalized or anonymous, whatever you like. You can also select the best way for people to contact you!
Wondering how to connect with or follow people on Socialroots? Find them in a group you share (or invite them to one!), and connect with them directly through their preferred contact method. Socialroots is a network for group-based value creation, effective community engagement, and collaborative action. People are at the heart of that, and the groups they participate in provide context for connections. We support connecting with alignment, not following everyone interesting, or anyone you may have met, once.
We recommend this blog post for an overview of how we think about team health.
Socialroots is #SlowSocial. Coordination is hard; let's simplify it.