Since Twitter stopped updating UK users via SMS about six months ago, there have been a number of third parties stepping up to offer support.
Getting SMS updates was a useful feature, but not a must have for me at least so I didn’t try any of the paid up-front services listed below:
I’m sure there are many others too, leave a comment if you know of one.
Free, At Last
After doing without SMS updates, a free service caught my eye. Twe2 offers advert-supported delivery of your Twitter direct messages via SMS.
I checked out the company (it’s been whitelisted by Twitter and is using the Wadja network to provide the adverts), and signed up and I've been testing the service for about a fortnight now.
First impressions are great - it does exactly what it says on the tin. You get an SMS sent to your phone for each Twitter DM you receive. The tweet gets truncated to 91 characters to make room for the advert at the end but I haven’t found this to be a problem so far.
Not Quite As Good As Twitter
Unlike the old Twitter service, you don’t get fine control over which users send direct messages to your phone - there are no equivalents to Twitter’s
off commands - it’s all or nothing.
This is a feature that I really miss, I used to get a useful SMS when my website went down or I had to take urgent action.
Better Than Twitter
Unlike Twitter’s service, Twe2 can send SMS alerts based on searches that you configure against the full public stream. The total number of text messages you get from Twe2 is rate limited to a maximum of a hundred per hour, very useful if you set an alert for a term that goes hot!
Don’t Use Autofollow DMs
Pretty soon after I started with Twe2, I received twenty(!) copies of the same direct message from @seolman thanking me for following him.
I was pretty annoyed and immediately blocked him.
It turned out that it was due to a horrendous bug in TweetLater - a Twitter service that I use too. I unblocked seolman since he was very apologetic.
I was also unwittingly sending auto-follow DMs due to another bug in TweetLater for which I humbly apologise. I don’t think any of my followers got twenty messages but let me know if you did!
Twitter To Re-Instate UK SMS?
Hopefully, Twe2 will keep on innovating and find some way to match the Twitter functionality, but all their effort might be for nought if this interview is to be believed.
Twe2 is a good service that I recommend and it shows how innovative coders will work around the artificial restrictions put in place by short-sighted, greedy telecoms companies. Any British mobile phone operator with half a brain would have jumped at the chance to have a high-profile client like Twitter and should have offered a very deep discount.