Twitter upgrades SMS functionality: Fast Follow, alerts and more
Before it was the world-famous social network that it is today, Twitter started out as a service based solely on SMS. Those roots still show in the 140 character limit per message (the character limit for one SMS is 160 characters and Twitter needed some space for the intended username of a reply or direct message, hence their lower limit).
Twitter is still very much usable by SMS, perhaps more so than ever starting today, as they’ve unveiled a couple of nice feature additions.
First up, you can now get someone’s tweets via SMS even if you don’t have a Twitter account. This currently only works in the US, and all you need to do is text “follow @username” (without the quotation marks and obviously replacing “username” with whoever it is you wish to follow) to 40404. This new feature is called Fast Follow.
You can, of course, sign up for Twitter via SMS if you so wish by texting “signup” to 40404.
You could also set SMS alerts for a specific users from a computer, so that you’d get all their tweets delivered to your phone. Now you can do this via SMS as well. Just text “on [username]” to begin or “off [username]” to stop, replacing “username” with the Twitter handle of those you wish to stalk.
This works wherever Twitter has a deal with a mobile carrier, so you’d better check the full list here and add your provider specific number to your address book.
You can also disable all text notifications from Twitter by sending the “off” command via SMS. You can turn them back on by, you guessed it, texting “on” to Twitter’s number.
And to wrap up today’s updates, you can quickly get a user’s most recent tweet by texting “Get [username]” to your local Twitter number.
There are many more text commands that you can use for Twitter on your phone, so perhaps you should check out the full list here.