Twitter 101 – Using SMS on Twitter


As of April 2020 Twitter turns off its SMS service in the United States. I am very disappointed.

I have been using twitter now since May 2008 when it was mostly an SMS service. Texting was big “way back then” and twitter allowed me to use my old blackberry to communicate with a large group of people via SMS or text message.

The same still holds true today but most people have forgotten about the SMS beginnings of twitter and instead are now using some form of twitter clients on their computers or phones or the twitter website itself to send tweets.

And that’s all cool and OK but it’s like driving an automatic versus a stick shift. Twitter was designed to work on any phone that can text message and that’s where you feel it’s true speed. Just make sure you have that unlimited text messaging plan.

Enjoying twitter through SMS is kind of cumbersome and a little technical but if you master it, there is no faster way to communicate using twitter than through good old fashioned text messaging just like there’s still no way to get the most speed out of a car unless you drive a stick.

So let’s take a walk back through time “2 whole years” and get a history lesson on some of the SMS commands that you can use through twitter. But first you must go to your twitter account on the web, click “settings” and then click “Mobile” to setup your cell phone for twitter. Then you just text to the number twitter assigns to you.

After your setup try some of these commands. They are pretty cool. Just text the highlighted command to the number twitter assigns you and see what happens.

ON – turns ALL SMS notifications on

OFF – turns ALL SMS notifications off.

STOP or QUIT – stops all SMS messages immediately.

ON username – turns on SMS notifications for a specific person. For example, ON DVDaniels

OFF username – turns off SMS notifications for a specific person. Using on/off username from SMS only stops notifications to the place the command comes from; you’ll still collect a person’s updates on the web. You don’t have to use ON/OFF username from your phone, you can also set individual notifications from a person’s profile page, or check your following page and manage all phone notification settings there. For example, OFF DVDaniels

FOLLOW username – this command allows you to start receiving notifications for a specific person by SMS. Following someone from a phone for the first time will also cause you to follow them on the web. Example: follow DVDaniels

LEAVE username – this command allows you to stop receiving notifications for a specific person by SMS.

– Using follow/leave username by SMS is the same as using on/off username. There is no way to stop following a person on the web without visiting their profile and removing them.

D username + message – sends a person a private message that goes to their device, and saves in their web archive. Example: d DVdaniels love your site!

WHOIS username – retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter. Example: whois DVDaniels and will also include the month and year the person started using twitter. That’s how I figured out I started in May 2008.

GET username – retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person. Example: get DVDaniels

NUDGE username – reminds a friend to update by asking what they’re doing on your behalf. Example: nudge DVDaniels

FAV username – marks a person’s last twitter as a favorite. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you’re receiving it in real time) Example: fav DVDaniels

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  • dinoelq

    I would like to exchange links with your site
    Is this possible?

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