2 ways to get SMS text messages from Twitter – what are yours?

As soon as Twitter dumped SMS alerts for most of the world, a bunch of us started trying to find workaround solutions that would allow us to still get text messages from Twitter. After much fiddling, online discussion and frustration, I’ve come up with two solutions that seem to work:

Solution #1: feed Twitter into Jaiku, then into Jaiku again

Twitter clone Jaiku is still sending SMS alerts to users. However, there doesn’t appear to be a way to select which ones you get SMS alerts from, and asking all your friends to switch to Jaiku isn’t practical for most. So…

You will need two Jaiku accounts. The first will ‘broadcast’ all of the feeds you want to subscribe to; the second will ‘receive’ those feeds from the first, and send texts to your phone.

You will also need a tool to pull all your RSS feeds into one, because Jaiku doesn’t seem to like Twitter RSS feeds (I wonder why?).

I’ve used Yahoo! Pipes – you can find out how to aggregate feeds using Pipes here. (Note: Pipes may stop taking feeds from Twitter, so you may have to use a second-stage aggregator like xFruits then)

In the broadcasting Jaiku go to settings > web feeds and add the feed from your Yahoo! Pipe.

Now log out and log in again with your second receiving Jaiku account, and make the broadcasting Jaiku account your friend. You should now receive notifications from them whenever the aggregated RSS feeds update.

Set up your receiving Jaiku account to send you text updates. That’s it.

Unfortunately Jaiku is still in invite-only phase, so you’ll need to know someone with spare Jaiku invites. You can also request them here.

Solution #2: Redirect emails to your phone (only on Orange, O2 and T-Mobile?)

For this you will need an email account to redirect to your phone. I’m using Gmail (click settings > forwarding and POP/IMAP to access the forwarding option). You can either set it up to forward all emails or just those you know are coming from Twitter (e.g. direct messages).

The emails will need to be forwarded to one of the following addresses:

  • O2: 44number@mmail.co.uk
  • Orange: 0number@orange.net
  • T-Mobile: 0number@t-mobile.uk.net

So if your number is 07999000000 then an email forwarded to 07999000000@orange.net should reach you by text (if you’re on Orange – 447999000000@mmail.co.uk if you’re on O2).

More email to SMS gateways can be found here and here. (thanks to Nathan Monk)

Tweet Scan and Mobifeedlive both offer email alerts from Twitter. You can also use one of the many RSS to email tools to send you email alerts when someone tweets.

Hope this is useful – if you have any more tips or refinements please let me know.

Note: also tried: Yahoo! Pipes text alert option and Pingie – both US only

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14 thoughts on “2 ways to get SMS text messages from Twitter – what are yours?

  1. mark

    There will be a lot of workarounds popping up and a number of “for pay” services. But they will only work for bleeding edge fast adopters and not for the general public (in so far as one can talk about general public in twitter terms). The real problem is for mass feeders like BP (to use a local ex) who were looking to set up services like alerts to readers. Till we get an operator based solution that seems to be borked.
    Which really is a shame and I think Twitter is shooting themselves in the groin (the foot just does not do it) as there may have been a serious revinue stream there.
    Business models seems not to be be twitters strong point tho.

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  3. Shay

    Tried the jaiku approach, it’s a no-go. Webfeeds simply don’t update, no matter if I aggregate twitter through yahoo pipe or feedburner. It accepts the feed, it just doesn’t update it. It’s been a day now and still no update on the feed, so I’m assuming it’s broken.

    Problem iwth other services is that I’m neither in the US (in which case I wouldn’t have an issue with twitter SMS anyway) nor am I in the UK. Doesn’t seem to be free sms email gateway in my lousy country.

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