This is really a follow up post about how I got my mum to use Twitter exclusively to message me. Since then, I’ve started to really like the combination of Twitter on SMS. It hits a bit of a messaging sweet spot for me.
It’s like instant messaging. The nice thing about having a 140 character limit is that direct messages tend to be concise. Messages are brief and I can decide if and what I am going to respond. Messages also come instataneously if it is tied to SMS.
It’s like email. One of the best things about email is that I can access it any where with any client. Because it is web-service based, I can access it over the web, a desktop client or mobile client. One of the things that I do now is that I leave my work phone in my home office when I get home. Since it is the primary device that I use for communications, I often miss personal SMS messages at night. I can however check my DMs from whereever I happen to be at that moment.
It is SMS with benefits. Since it is tied to SMS, I have it instantly on the device of my choice. Additional benefits of being Twitter is that it isn’t a random number. I have used the moniker firsttiger for over 15 years now so it’s easy for most people to remember my handle. I also change my phone numbers often but I am not likely to change my Twitter handle. Another major benefit for Twitter DM over SMS is that it leverages Internet infrastructure and just uses cellular infrastructure for the last mile so this makes long distance texting cheaper. When I travel, I often use a local SIM card in order to save money on telecommunications. However, long distant SMS messages still apply when I text home. With Twitter DM and some set up, it allows me to just incur local text charges to communicate with people back home.
So if you can, please Twitter DM me instead of texting me. You’ll find that I am more responsive 🙂
It’s true what they say – it’s hard to miss what you never had. For the longest time, Canada was bereft of Twitter over SMS. I never once thought about it impacting me since in my mind, I would always use an app like PockeTwit or Twikini. Even after my carrier got the ability to use Twitter over SMS, I was a bit non-chalant about it. It took me almost a week for Twitter to get its kinks out of the way but finally it worked.
For me, the primary magic really was getting Mama Kang on Twitter. I have mum set up on Tweetdeck at home but my mum would rarely log on to it. I quickly realized that the best way to do this was to get it to work over SMS for mum. Mum is very much a technophobe choosing not to use tech because she doesn’t have to. Once she was introduced to Twitter SMS, she got used to the idea of checking and sending text messages. One slight problem – mum could not figure out how to get to the @ sign from her SE W810. I eventually got her a used T-Mobile G1 from @elusivejackal. I was surprised how quickly she got used to the idea of using the smartphone but more on that on another post. Mum now constantly DMs me and it’s great.
Here’s why Twitter SMS is better than regular SMS. For me, it’s because it gives me a much wider reach of friends and family. SMS is the bridge for people who aren’t incline to be on their computer all the time or have a smartphone but whom I want to stay connected with and hopefully they with me.
Another great side effect of having Twitter SMS. While I’m more than happy to be on my mobile device all day long, I tend not to be. When I’m home, I tend to leave my primary phone (tgrmobile) on my home office desk. Cool thing is that I have access to my DMs through other devices scattered around the house.
So my new take on Twitter SMS is that it’s probably the most effective technology to bridge the technophiles and technophobes.
Twitter SMS messages came back to Rogers today with some mixed reviews. Earlier on in the day, I got an tweet from Keith McArthur, who looks like the new Rogers Social Media guy, letting me know that Twitter via SMS is now available to Rogers and Fido customers. I was really excited – not that it impacted directly because I typically tweet using PockeTwit – but because that means that my friends who don't own a smart phone or aren't willing to pay for a data plan can now receive Twitter messages on their phone. It was my understanding that Rogers would treat Twitter messages like they would any other text messages. As far as I could tell, this had minimal financial impact to end-users because as of today, all incoming text messages are free. Other news also trickled about Rogers charging for incoming messages in the future but only for phones that aren't on a text messaging plan. When this news hit, there seem to be a lot of anger as there was a misconception that people were getting bombarded by Twitter messages and having to pay for it. It looks like anger has subsided by the time I'm writing this post. When I was thinking about this, I was a bit baffled by the anger because of a number of reasons. For one, by default, updates to devices are turned off when you follow someone. I actually have to specify to have device notification turned on by each person I follow. This makes sense to me – I don't care to be personally notified on SMS about everyone's status. There are probably only a handful of people I truly care about to be notified. Secondly, it would have been no different than what it was a few months ago just before SMS notification was turned off in Canada and there was an uproar about it. My frustration however is that at 10:30 pm tonight – I still haven't received one SMS update on my phone. Minimal impact to me personally but would be nice if this worked; there are other people I'd like to be able to reach out to via Twitter 😀
Update: 2009-05-08 23:00 – I have been advised to delete device and then reactivate it for SMS to work. Trying to but getting the fail whale. Hopefully will be fixed tomorrow.
Update: 2009-05-09 22:23 – Still no SMS updates although @_gloomybear_ started getting her updates via SMS. Waiting for another 2 more days before I ask for help again. Lack of communication on statuses is disturbing on Twitter