MUO has featured such an array of SMS-integrating services that you can basically deduce that a messaging plan for your mobile phone may render a data plan anywhere from accessory to unnecessary. Smartphones and high-tech mobile phones, mainly attractive for their data plan (think email or web browsing) and Office integration, don’t always prove a complete necessity for some of our readers.
On one of our more recent polls, a large portion of our readership base actually informed us that they own a plain cell phone, showing us that not everyone out there is in deep need of the features of high-tech mobile devices and smartphones.
The new truth is, any text-capable cell phone can now be just as reliable as a smartphone as long as you’re aware of which SMS-integrating services and cool SMS tricks are available. For instance, all of the following services (to which access is only a text message away) can simplify your usual web activities on-the-go. Thus, be forewarned that an unlimited messaging plan will come in very handy unless you want to pay extra fees.
This first part focuses on how you can access your social networks without any special apps (like for the iPhone). The second part features ways to stay productive with SMS services.
Cool SMS Tricks to Stay Social
Update Your Status Across Social Networks
- Posterous is a blogging platform that supports cross-posting your status updates and sharing your media files as multiple attachments in email (photos, videos, etc) to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress and 16 other sites.
- Ping.fm will take in your updates to cross-post to 40+ social networks and also supports selective network update and multiple input methods (besides email, you can update by IM, Skype, iPhone web app, etc). but it will post your pictures on its Ping.fm site like Twitpic (so your photo will appear as a random piece and not in a unified personal site like Flickr’s photostream or Posterous’ custom blogs). You will have a number to send your text updates to and also a personalized email address for you to use if you want to update with a single photo at a time.
- Hellotxt lets you update to more than 50 networks from email, just like Ping.fm, with the difference that Hellotxt allows you to schedule posts, and it also pulls tweets from people you’re following on Twitter for you to read right on the same page where you can post to Twitter and other networks.Hellotxt will accept custom tags for your networks so you can easily insert a hashtag (e.g. “#fb” to post to Facebook) at the beginning of the email body, in case you want to post to a specific service. Attach any media and it’ll be posted on the Hellotxt site in your lifestream page along with a link to it on your respective networks.
- Pixelpipe specializes in posting your updates and media to 110+ outlets once you send them in a MMS to your personalized uploading email (in a similar fashion as Ping.fm or Twitpic so you won’t see your pictures in an unified set). Since you have so many networks you can choose from, there are two ways to selectively update: you can set any of the networks as a default place to update or choose by typing @”nameofservice” in the body of your message, which will promptly update that particular service.
- In addition to containing great potential for alerts and productivity, the filters in Gmail work wonders (similar to those from the previous points) if you set up filters so that emails from your mobile to an address like firstname.lastname@example.org get forwarded to your Facebook or Flickr’s personalized upload email.Each filter can only forward to one email so you’ll have to create several filters if you have many networks. Additionally, you can link some services so that they will automatically update to other places. For example, the pictures you post on Flickr can be sent to your Twitter stream if you link your two accounts here and use the Flickr2Twitter upload email. Of course, there are some shortcomings with this method: You may have to tweak the filters a bit in order to be able to upload to specific services and not others and consume part of your Gmail 7GB+ quota to store the photos in your inbox.
Whether you have several social network accounts you want to update, you feel like updating your networks selectively, or just want somewhere to continue your longer-than-140-characters Twitter updates, Posterous will have you covered. To send a plain-text update (with no photos or other media), text “Post + your message” to 41411 or email/send a media message (MMS) your update and your multiple photos, videos, etc. to email@example.com (to post to all of your default-selected networks), firstname.lastname@example.org (only those two), email@example.com (only your Posterous blog), etc. You can send an email via SMS if you can add an "@" in the "To:" textbox. Learn how you can send an email via SMS.
Get Updates From Your Social Networks
- Twitter: We showed you how to Twitter from a low-tech cell phone so let’s discuss how to keep up with other Twitter users (if you tweet heavily, you’ll find this familiar): By following someone on Twitter, you’ll have the option of receiving his/her updates by SMS (granted you have provided Twitter with your phone number). Thus, you can select which people you want to be up-to-date with. So for example, if you tend to forget going to Google Reader to update yourself with the latest news, have the news come to you by choosing to receive SMS updates from your preferred news sources’ Twitter account. Additionally, you can also avoid long-distance SMS charges while still keeping up with your friends from other countries by sending them a direct message on Twitter.
- Facebook SMS subscriptions: Facebook sort of caught up to Twitter on the idea that SMS integration with a website does surprisingly well. Now you can receive your friends’ status updates by text message just by subscribing on Facebook.com.
- You can also update your own status via text message, get notifications of messages and wall posts (you’ll be able to reply by text message too!) and so on. To do this, go on the Account tab > Account Settings > Notifications and select which notifications you wish to receive by SMS (for which you’ll need to register your phone on Facebook). You can also subscribe in fewer steps if you plan to follow a lot more people when you go to the Account tag > Edit Friends, then to the right of your friend, you can add to the SMS Subscriptions list.
Alternatively, after you hit the Account tag > Edit Friends, find SMS Subscriptions under Lists and then click Edit List. You’ll see all of your friends in a popup and then will be able to subscribe with one click to each friend.
We have also featured a number of places where you can send SMS to phones, as opposed to from your phone as we discussed here, but now we’d like to hear from you. Which SMS services do you prefer or recommend? And look out for part two of this article, coming soon!
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