Tweeting via SMS is in, the way it should be

Thursday, 17 December 2009 - 9:22am IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: dna let’s you update your twitter account via SMS at local rates.

Social networking and micro-blogging site has been gaining popularity in India with news channels and entertainment channels alike using the service to get impromptu opinions on all topics under the sun.

Though popular, most people use it through a browser or a desktop application. But what about the mobile, the way Twitter was initially intended to be updated? Sadly very few use GPRS and only Airtel users can send updates via SMS. That being the case,, a service started by a Bangalorean on an experimental basis will come in handy.

Mayank S, the creator of the service works with a company dealing in mobile technology and the service is strictly experimental in nature. “When I made the site, it was on a trial basis and Airtel hadn’t even struck the deal then. People had to use the international number to update the service,” Mayank says.

“I don’t have operational costs as such. The only investment I made was for domain hosting and a fixed amount for an sms channel,” Mayank says. What lies beneath the simple site is a set of codes that receives the SMS update and posts it to your twitter account using Twitter’s oAuth service. It ensures that no sensitive information of the account is stored on the site. “The updates and the data are stored only momentarily so there are no privacy issues to be worried about,” he adds.

Mayank bought the SMS channel from SMSGupShup, which some consider to be an Indian version of Twitter. One can use a regular 10 digit number (Bangalore and Mumbai numbers available) to post to Twitter. It costs only local sms rates to post updates compared to the premium rates attached to five digit numbers used by similar services. It also sends back the last @<username> reply you got in your account when you post an update.

Earlier there were players like Vakow, a website similar to SmsGupShup that provided such a service, but users soon complained of a delay in posting updates and at times the updates never turned up at all.

“I started the service three months back, but it gained traction only at the beginning of this month. Since then a lot of people have registered for the service. I don’t have any plans to monetise it till I have at least thousand users. Maybe then, users will be pinged every time someone sends an @reply or sends a direct message on Twitter,” Mayank adds.
The service is ranked 103 globally among applications people use to update Twitter.

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