The problem: It can also seriously affect your device's overall performance and become both a nuisance and a time drain. That's because notifications are on by default when you join a new Group. And until you turn each alert off, you're notified whenever a member of the group comments, posts an image or anything else.
This can be frustrating, but it's easy enough to solve that problem. Just launch your BBM app and click on a Group's name to open it up. Then hit your BlackBerry Menu key and choose "Group Details" from the popup menu. You'll then be able to modify notification and message list integration settings, as well as specify whether or not you want to backup message history, automatically save pictures posted by Group members and more.
The two most troublesome things about BBM Groups, in my opinion, are the drain it puts on your device battery, and the fact that anyone who's part of one of your Groups can choose to add you to their messenger lists. At one point, I was a part of three fairly active BBM Groups and the notifications and refreshes alone nearly cut my BlackBerry battery life in half.
As stated above, I purposely don't connect with many people on BBM, I have fewer than 50 contacts at the moment. And the Group-invite feature also lets anyone else who's invited to the Group by its other members add you as a contact. That means I have to ignore more invites than I would've without Groups.
My advice is not to avoid BBM Groups completely; I think the feature can be truly valuable. But you'll need to set your notifications and alerts wisely, as well as be wary of joining too many BBM Groups.
Accept file transfers from only trusted contacts
If you follow the advice stated in the first section, this shouldn't be too much of a concern, since all, or most, of your contacts should be "trusted." But if you already have many BBM associates who you don't really know, or by chance, you choose to pay no attention to my initial suggestion (shame, shame!) you'll want to be cautious of the files that you accept via BBM.
This should be elementary for most experienced Internet users, but all sorts of nasty stuff can be embedded in various common file types, including offensive images or audio and viruses that could affect your device or connected hardware.
So before you accept any BBM file transfers, ensure that the sender is a trusted contact.
Additional privacy and security safeguards
BBM offers a number of additional privacy- and security-oriented features that you might find worthwhile. For example, you can choose to enable a security question on BBM invites, for an added layer of protection when adding new contacts. To do so, launch BBM, open your Options via the BlackBerry Menu key and ensure the "Display security question on invitation" option is checked.
On the same screen, you may want to "uncheck" the "Auto-accept voice notes" option, to avoid unknowingly downloading potentially offensive or harmful audio files.
And you can keep your location and current time zone information private by opening up your BBM profile and ensuring the "Show my location/time zone information" box is empty, as well. Open your profile by launching the app and clicking on the bar atop your display, the bar with your avatar image, if you're using one.
Avoid using BBM Broadcast Messages... please
BBM 5.0 lets you send the equivalent of an email blast to all of your BlackBerry Messenger contacts thanks to the "Broadcast Message" feature. You simply open the app, hit your BlackBerry Menu key to show the options menu and choose "Broadcast Message."
In theory, this sounds like a novel idea. But in reality, it proves to be incredibly annoying and obtrusive, mostly because some folks tend to overuse the feature.
Like BBM Groups, I won't tell you to never use BBM Broadcast Messages... but you probably shouldn't. Okay, okay, it's acceptable every once and a while, but please do so with some restraint. I know I'm not the only one who cringes when I see that purple Broadcast-Message-text in BBM....