Twitter Mobile: Text Messages

One powerfult Twitter feature allows you to send and receive tweets as text messages.

One powerful Twitter feature allows you to send and receive tweets as text messages.

One feature that makes Twitter powerful is it’s reach to mobile devices like notebooks, netbooks, smart phones, and cell phones. With the correct setup, you can send and receive tweets on any of these devices. In this Twitter Mobile series, I’m going to talk about the mobile aspect of Twitter. For this post, let’s jump into Twitter and text messages.

Twitter Text Messages

Twitter allows you to use its mobile features from a variety of mobile internet devices and phones. While many people today have the high end gadgets, you can also use Twitter through a regular cell phone using text messages.

You can set up Twitter to convert tweets to text messages, and to convert your text messages to tweets. Twitter does not charge for this service. However, your cell phone carrier may charge you for each text message that you send and receive. Before you set up your cell phone with Twitter, check with your cell phone carrier about the charges for text messages on your current plan. If possible, update your plan to unlimited text messaging to avoid incurring a large (and unexpected) cell phone bill.

If you live outside of the United States, there are only a few places where you can use this feature. Check the Twitter help topic to learn more about international text messaging availability and services.

Cell Phone Setup

Before you can link your cell phone to your Twitter account, you must understand the phone number format required by Twitter.

  • If you have a phone number in the United States, your phone number format is “+” followed by “1″ followed by your ten digit phone number (area code first). For example, if your phone number is (888)555-1212, your format would be: +18885551212.
  • If your phone number is from a country outside of the United States, your phone number format is “+” followed by your country code followed by your ten digit phone number.

If you have any questions about your phone number format, check the Twitter help topic.

To link link your cell phone to your Twitter account.

  1. Go to the Setting option and select the Devices tab.
  2. Type in your cell phone number in the required format.
  3. Click the checkbox to allow Twitter to send text messages to your phone.
  4. Click Save.
  5. If Twitter accepts your phone number, it displays a message on the screen with two components. It provides you with the correct text message address (40404=United States) and a unique confirmation code.
  6. Use your cell phone to send the confirmation code to the text message address.

When Twitter receives your confirmation code text message, your cell phone setup is complete.

Receiving Text Messages Setup

Now, you must decide how many tweets you want to receive on your cell phone. You have the following options for converting tweets to text messages:

  • No tweets to text messages.
  • All tweets from selected people you follow to text messages.
  • All direct messages to text messages.

Notes

  • If you receive text messages on your phone, you can also set up sleep hours to turn off incoming text messages during a specific time during the day.
  • After linking your phone to your Twitter account, you can always send text messages to Twitter no matter what receiving option you select.
  • You can change your receiving option at any time from Twitter.com or through the Twitter text message commands.
  • After you set up your cell phone to receive tweets as text messages, each time that Twitter converts a tweet to a text message, it appears on your phone like any other text message. Check your phone’s user manual if you have any questions about receiving text messages.

Receive No Text Messages

To set up with no tweets converted to text messages:

  1. Go to the Setting option and select the Devices tab.
  2. Under Device Updates, select Off in the list.
  3. Click Save.

Receive Only Direct Messages

To set up with all direct messages  converted to text messages:

  1. Go to the Setting option and select the Devices tab.
  2. Under Device Updates, select Direct Messages in the list.
  3. Click Save.

Receive Text Messages From Selected People You Follow

To use this feature, you must set up your phone, and then select the people you follow whose tweets you want to receive.

To set up your phone to receive tweets from selected people you follow converted to text messages:

  1. Go to the Setting option and select the Devices tab.
  2. Under Device Updates, select On in the list.
  3. Click Save.

To identify the people whose tweets your want to receive as text messages on your cell phone:

  1. From your home page, click the number of people you are Following.
  2. Go through the list until you find a person whose tweets you want converted to text messages.
  3. By the person’s avatar, click device update On.
  4. Continue through the list, clicking device update On for each appropriate person.

Notes:

  • To turn off text messages from a person, click device update Off.
  • You can set the device update option for new people when you follow them using Twitter.com.
  • You can use text message commands to turn off and on device updates for individual people from your cell phone.

Sending A Tweet As a Text Message

After linking your cell phone to your Twitter account, you can send tweets through text messages.

  1. Display the appropriate screen on your cell phone to send a text message.
  2. Use the appropriate Twitter text message address.  (In the United States, use 40404.)
  3. Type you tweet using up to 140 characters.
  4. Send your text message.

Notes:

  • You can send @replies, and direct messages from your cell phone using the text message commands from your cell phone.
  • Check your phone’s user manual if you have any questions about sending text messages.

Additional Details

Here are some things you need to know about Twitter and text messages.

About author:

Charlene is the information strategist behind Crow Information Design.

6 Responses to “Twitter Mobile: Text Messages”

  1. Twitter Text says:

    Thanks for your very comprehensive explanation on how to use Twitter with text messages.

    Would you be willing to review my Twitter app- it sends @ replies to you as text messages. I’d love to see a review of it in your blog.

    http://twitter.com/feedtwit
    http://feedtwit.com/

    • Charlene says:

      I would be willing to try it. I’ll schedule that for the next break in my work, and if I love it, I’ll blog about it. If I’m not crazy about it, I’ll send you a personal reply. Fair enough?

  2. billy says:

    thanks Now I understand how to do this. A big help

  3. ray shephardson says:

    I use this company (aql) see here for futher details https://www.aql.com/sms/sms-to-twitter/ works great for me.

  4. Rental Rehab says:

    Thank you for the easy to read, comprehensive explanation. This will come in very handy for my upcoming live tweeting session during an Andrew Dice Clay performance.

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