Twitter 101: Text to Tweet


When Twitter was first drafted by Jack Dorsey in March of 2006,  he envisioned an individual using a Short Message Service, i.e. SMS (or text messaging), for communicating to a large group of people.  Even with the proliferation of smart phones,  individuals may find it easier to communicate with Twitter using their current SMS technology.  Continuing our Twitter 101 series,  we are going to demonstrate how to enable and use SMS technology in order to interact with Twitter.  Please be aware that their might be a cost for using your SMS service.  Please contact your mobile provider for further information.

Getting Started

First Tweet via SMS


To enable SMS on Twitter, you will need to login and visit your “Settings” page on Twitter.  On the “Settings” page,  click the “Mobile” tab.


Mobile Settings Tab Prior to Activation


Enter your mobile phone number,  and click the “Activate phone” button.  Once you click the button,  you will see a message that tells you to text message the word “GO” to a unique short code number.  Go ahead and send the text message,  and you will receive a confirmation that your phone has been activated.  If you want to stop using SMS,  you can text the word “STOP” to the same short code number.  This will deactivate your phone from the Twitter service.

Twitter Activated Message

Setting Your Preferences

It is important to spend a few minutes setting up your mobile preferences, since you will  probably want to limit the number of text messages you receive.  You will need to visit your Twitter “Settings” page, and click on the “Mobile” tab.

Mobile Settings Tab After Activation


The first option, which is enabled by default, gives tweeters the ability to find you by your phone number.  The next set of options gives you the freedom to determine the type of notifications you would like to receive via SMS.  You can select to receive tweets from people you have enabled for the mobile notification,  tweets that are direct messages to you, alerts when someone new follows you,  tweets that mention you or are a reply to your tweet, and alerts when your tweet is retweeted. You can also set up times when the messaging service should not update you on Twitter activity.  After setting up your preferences,  click the “Save changes” button to save your preferences.

Your First Tweet

Posting your first tweet via SMS is very easy.  Just send a text message to the short code number that Twitter gave you, and the tweet will be posted on your timeline.  Here is an example of my text message:

First Tweet via SMS

And here is my updated timeline:

My SMS Tweet on Twitter


Interacting With Twitter

Using SMS on Twitter is not just limited to receiving notifications and posting tweets.  Twitter has created an array of SMS commands that enable you to interact in rich ways with your Twitter account.  Using these commands,  you can follow a user, mark a friend’s tweet as a favorite,  and much more.  When using the following commands,  do not append a @ symbol with the command.  The following commands are not case-sensitive, so you can use lower or upper case letters.

  •  ON [username]: Enable receiving mobile notifications from the specific tweeter.  Example: ON MissioDigio .
  • OFF [username]: Disable receiving mobile notifications from the specific tweeter.  Example: OFF MissioDigio .
  • FOLLOW [username]: Start following that tweeter, and enable mobile notification from that specific tweeter. Example: FOLLOW MissioDigio .
  • UNFOLLOW [username]: Stop following that tweeter, and disable mobile notification from that specific tweeter. Example: UNFOLLOW MissioDigio .
  • LEAVE [username]: Disable mobile notification from that specific tweeter, but do not stop following the tweeter. Example: LEAVE MissioDigio .
  • @[username] A message – Mentions the tweeter in your tweet.  Example: @MissioDigio You Rock! .
  • D [username] A message – Direct message the tweeter. Example: D MissioDigio You Rock! .
  • M [username] A message – Send a private message to a tweeter. Example: M MissioDigio You Rock! .
  • RT [username] – Sends the tweeter’s last tweet to your followers.  It retweets the tweet. Example: RT MissioDigio .
  • SET LOCATION [place name] – Update the location field in your profile.  Example: SET LOCATION Alhambra, Ca
  • SET BIO [your bio] – Updates your bio information in your profile. Example: SET BIO A unique ministry that teaches tech and missions .
  • SET LANGUAGE [language name] – Selects the language you would like to receive notifications in.  Example: SET LANGUAGE German .
  • SET NAME [your name] – Updates the name field in your profile. Example: SET NAME Missio Digio .
  • SET URL [website url] – Updates the website url field in your profile.  Example SET URL http://www.missiodigio.com .
  • WHOIS [username] – Retrieves the profile of any public Twitter user.  Example: WHOIS MissioDigio .
  • GET [username] – Retrieves the latest tweet of the specific tweeter. Example: GET MissioDigio .
  • FAV [username] – Marks the specific tweeter’s latest tweet as your favorite.  Example: FAV MissioDigio .
  • STATS [username] – Retrieves a specific tweeter’s latest stats, including number of followers, how many people they are following,  and their bio information.  Example: STATS MissioDigio .
  • HELP – Receive tips on how to use SMS with Twitter.
  • SUGGEST – Retrieve a list of tweeters that Twitter suggests you might enjoy following.

Go ahead and try out some of the SMS commands above.  What do you think?  How do you like using SMS for interacting with Twitter?

Even though SMS offers some useful tools for interacting with Twitter,  you might find yourself looking for more control of your Twitter account.  With the rise in popularity of smart phone devices,  many devices now offer full featured Twitter apps.  In our next post,  we will list out some of the popular apps, and try to cover a wide array of mobile devices.  Until then,  happy tweeting!

Welcome to Missio Digio's Twitter 101 series. This is our first series of posts developed by Missio Digio. This series is designed to help you discover new ways to use Social Media in your day to day operations, and strengthen your communication with your congregants and/or supporter base. If you have any questions, please submit them under "Got a question?" or, just add a comment below.

Other Articles in the Series

  1. Twitter 101: A New Form of Communication
  2. Twitter 101: The Power of Social Media
  3. Twitter 101: Signing Up & Guided Tour [video]
  4. Twitter 101: Following & Leading
  5. Twitter 101: Tweeting
  6. Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 1
  7. Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 2
  8. Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 3 (Multimedia)
  9. Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 4 (Location-Based Tweeting)
  10. Twitter 101: Direct Messaging
  11. Twitter 101: Organizing with Lists
  12. Twitter 101: Searching the Twittersphere
  13. Twitter 101: Fresh Coat of Paint
  14. Twitter 101: Text to Tweet