8 Different Ways to Use a Text Message

Consider the fact that almost 90% of adults in the United States have some kind of cell phone with texting capabilities. Then combine that with the jaw-dropping statistic that 96% of all text messages are read by the recipient. This means that text messaging is an amazingly effective way to reach a whole lot of people, and it’s inexpensive, especially if you have an unlimited plan. So besides the standard personal conversations, what are some interesting, effective, or fun things you can do with text messages? Here are a few ideas:

  • Group chatGroupMe is a free service that allows you to have something like an online chat room, but via text instead. So you send a message to a group of people, and their replies can also be seen by the whole group.
  • Mass texting – Send a text to a large group of people with a service like Yaptap. Use this for things like activity reminders, event notifications, inspirational messages, and emergency alerts/notifications.
  • Business marketing – Use some neat tools like Cellit to manage marketing and promotions via text. If you’re selling a product or service, you can send out a message that says “Show this text to get 25% off” to get great customer engagement.
  • Audience engagement – If you’re a public speaker, you can use Poll Everywhere to engage your audience via text message. Use this for things like taking polls with results updated on screen in real time, receiving audience questions via text, moderated text-to-screen graffiti, receiving feedback, tracking attendance, and anonymous polls for sensitive topics.
  • Getting information – Use ChaCha to receive answers to any kind of question via text. Directory assistance, trivia questions, sports scores, whatever.
  • Google Mobile – Google has some amazing (and free!) services using SMS. They have text features for Search, Calendar, Blogger, Gmail, and Voice.
  • Twitter – Many people don’t know that Twitter is also a texting service. You can subscribe to a person’s Twitter feed via text so you will receive a text every time they tweet. People can also sign up to follow you this way. To sign up, just send a text message to 40404 with the message body being “follow” then a space then the username. (So if somebody wanted to follow my tweets via text, the body of his message would say “follow @mattmckee”.)
  • Twitter Timer – Twitter also allows you to send yourself text reminders by direct messaging the username Timer. (You have to follow the account first.) Then send a text to 40404 with a direct message to timer, the number of minutes from now you want your reminder sent, and a short description. The message “d timer 45 call mom” means that in 45 minutes, Timer will send you a text reminder to call your mom.

All these are just a drop in the bucket of specialized services and neat things you can do via text. What cool things do you use SMS for?

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