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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter SMS’

HOWTO: Share A Photo On Twitter Via Text Message

When Jack Dorsey first started thinking about Twitter, his original concept was to allow an individual to use an SMS service to communicate with a group of people via text message – back then, the project name for the platform was Twttr, which was based on the five-character length of American SMS short codes.

(Click here to see a screengrab of the first-ever Twitter homepage.)

Times have changed, and in just five years Twitter has become a fully-fledged social platform, with 400 million people visiting Twitter.com each month. However, the company has continued to remain true to its roots and continues to support text messaging as a way  for users to connect with the service, and this remains popular around the world, particularly in countries where the internet is less freely available. The numbers are pretty amazing – nearly 4 billion SMS messages are sent and received on Twitter every month.

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Cameroon Gov’t Suspends Twitter to Prevent Protests

The government of Cameroon, likely fearing a situation similar to the recent uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa, has blocked access to Twitter on SMS.
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Twitter Processes One Billion SMS Tweets Per Month (And This Is Why We Can’t Have Proper Hyperlinks)

Bad news – SMS on Twitter isn’t going away.

This also means the limitations imposed by catering to SMS on Twitter aren’t likely to be disappearing some time this afternoon, either. This includes simple, but aesthetically-pleasing, 140 character-effective and commonplace-since-the-90s technologies like anchored hyperlinks.

Hashtags work like hyperlinks on Twitter (going straight to a Twitter search for that tag), so the platform is already there, and something equally basic would be easy to implement (as well as eliminating all the problems Twitter has with trusted links).

Confused about what I mean? Here’s an example of how Twitter manages links now:

Twitter Needs Trusted Links

And here’s how we should be able to do it:

Twitter Needs Trusted Links

But with SMS clearly still so important to Twitter, the limits imposed by that platform mean that this is likely never going to happen. I realise many of the countries that have a weak web infrastructure but a strong mobile network can only access Twitter in this manner, but I would think that a completely independent, SMS-supportive version of Twitter that ran alongside the main hub would be a better solution for everybody. This standalone platform could interpret the (new to Twitter, but web-normal) hyperlinks shared via Twitter.com, desktop apps and smartphones and convert them into shortened URLs so that everything fits neatly into the text message.

This way, the tweet metadata on the web-based platform could be radically updated and party like it’s 1999. And nobody loses out.

Instead, we have this.

Over the last eight months we have been working with a startup called Cloudhopper to become one of the highest volume SMS programs in the world–Twitter processes close to a billion SMS tweets per month and that number is growing around the world from Indonesia to Australia, the UK, the US, and beyond.

To help us further grow and scale our SMS service, we are happy to announce the acquisition of Cloudhopper, a messaging infrastructure company that enables Twitter to connect directly to mobile carrier networks in countries all over the planet.

Maybe this growing and scaling includes something similar to what I’ve outlined above. But with Twitter now looking to launch their own URL-shortener, I wouldn’t expect this to be happening anytime soon.