Last year I started a local unschooling group that gets together once a week. We are a small informal group of 5 families and we meet at various forest preserves, parks, local attractions & even in each other's homes. We started out communicating via email but switched to a Facebook group with a separate google calendar to chat throughout the week, share photos & keep track of upcoming activities. One family, though, has an aversion to Facebook (which I don't judge & can totally understand even though I'm there more than I like to be) so we're looking to find another format of communication. The only other options we've come up with are email, a yahoo group or a Meetup group. Email was shot down because some feel it's confusing & clutters the inbox. Yahoo groups are disliked for various reasons (even though I kinda like them) and Meetup is a great format but it costs money (but not much). Are there any other options?
Google Groups is an email list-server that works a lot like Yahoo, but it's easier to navigate and more secure. I think a Yahoo or GoogleGroup would be perfect for your group. People who don't like registering with on-line accounts can just get email in their inboxes. Those who don't want email can set their subscription to "No Mail" and read messages on-line by going to the Group's webpage.
FWIW, you probably aren't going to be able to find a solution that makes everyone happy. I would just pick whatever works best for you and use it. Most people will find a way to cope with whatever you choose. The groups that last, IME, are being run by people who put most of their effort into making sure the group is meeting their family's needs and say no when people ask for unreasonable accommodations. Otherwise you find yourself jumping through endless hoops for people who aren't grateful and just get more demanding, and eventually the group is abandoned because it's not bringing anything good to your life.
If you like having the group on facebook, and it works for almost everyone, then I'd offer to forward major announcements to the family that isn't interested in being on facebook. My friends who aren't on facebook understand that decision means being out of the loop sometimes. If you'd rather have an email based group, then you can go to yahoo or google. They're about the same, as far as I can tell, although in my area people are more familiar with yahoogroups so it's a little easier to ask people to join one of those. Often I have to help people when they join my group that uses google. Pick whichever option is going to be best for you personally to moderate, and accept that it won't be ideal for everyone.
edited to add: I just noticed that your group is only 5 families. You might want to check out Multiply.com They have private groups and you can share photos, etc... also each member can decide if they want posts emailed to them or not. I wouldn't want to moderate a large group on there, but for 5 families it would probably work well.
onatightrope, I totally agree! Nothing will ever appease everyone, even if we're only 5 families strong. After way too many email exchanges yesterday, it looks like we're going with a yahoo group. Everyone is at least familiar with the format (as opposed to google groups but thanks for the suggestion, Miranda, because I forgot they even existed). Our back up plan will be Meetup if yahoo is too annoying for some. I suggested going straight to Meetup b/c we all appreciate the format (much like MDC) but there are a few penny pinchers in the group & $12/mo didn't seem worth it if a yahoo group would suffice. Cool. Whatever.
I completely adore having a smaller more intimate group but the leadership aspect gets lost in the shuffle. We're all friends and run things organically. Unfortunately, we're all very strongly opinionated women. Haha! Then again, we are also a very accommodating group so there hasn't been (too much) drama, thus far.
Do remind them that they can set their yahoogroups subscriptions to no-mail and read messages on-line if they'd prefer not to clutter their inboxes.
Some people around here use NING. It used to be free, but I think there is a fee now. I'm not sure what it is, but you might check in to it.