We’ve always been big fans of trusty SMS messaging. In fact, sending a text was originally the only way users could tweet. This is why Tweets are 140 characters — they need to fit into a text message.
We value SMS because it’s simple, instant and universal. Recently, we’ve added a few new features to make Twitter even more useful with SMS.
Fast Follow. Anyone in the US can receive Tweets on their phone even if they haven’t signed up for Twitter. This is a simple way for people to get information they care about in real-time. For example, let’s say you want to get Tweets from New York City’s office of emergency management (@NotifyNYC). Just text ‘follow NotifyNYC’ to 40404 in the US.
Try it out the next time you see a Twitter @username at a restaurant or store, on a billboard or on TV, or if you hear one mentioned on the radio. If you want to appear in a user’s followers list or start to get followers, you’ll need to create a Twitter account. You can SMS by texting ‘signup’ to Twitter.
Fast Following without creating an account is currently available only in the US, but we’re working with carriers to bring it to other countries.
Set SMS alerts: From your computer, wherever you see a user on Twitter.com, you can hover over their name or avatar, and click on the phone icon that appears in the hovercard. Whenever they tweet, you’ll get it as an SMS message on your phone.
It’s just as easy to set alerts from your phone. Send ‘on [username]’ or ‘off [username]’ to 40404 in the US. (Tip: Check our list of numbers for each country and add the Twitter number to your address book.)
Tell Twitter to be quiet. Turn text messages on or off by sending ‘on’ or ‘off’ to Twitter. You can also go to our settings page if you want to turn off text message updates during a certain time period.
Keep up with the latest Tweet. If you text ‘Get [username]’, that user’s most recent Tweet will be sent to your phone, even if you don’t follow them. There are a bunch of other fun commands you can use with Twitter on your phone.
Follow @twittermobile to keep up with the latest mobile developments.
*Editor's note: As of November 2017, Twitter has increased the character count of Tweets in certain languages to make it easier to share what’s happening.