Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to: Get Twitter Tweets on Your Cell Phone

I didn't sign up for mobile Twittering for a long, long time. I wanted to be sure my "unlimited messaging plan" really was "unlimited" before risking a breach of that particular floodgate. I wanted to be sure I understood how to turn it off again. I needn't have worried; configuring Twitter to send messages to my mobile phone was easier than I'd expected it to be. And it didn't automatically send messages from everyone I follow - just the ones I selected to follow on the cell phone. I could limit it to direct messages only, and I could set a quiet, "do not disturb" period during which I would receive, but not be notified of, new messages.

I thought I was the last person to jump on the bandwagon, but judging from my blog's keyword tracker, apparently not. For those of you who landed here wondering "how to set some one on cell phone to follow on twitter," here's how:

1. Log on to your account at

2. Click Settings.


3. Click the Devices tab. Enter your cell phone number (starting with "+" and your country code, and leaving off the leading "0" if necessary).


4. Check the box next to "It's okay for Twitter to send txt messages to my phone. Standard rates apply." Twitter doesn't charge for this, but your cellular service provider may. If you're on a pay-as-you-go plan, don't allow text messages from anyone whose tweets aren't worth $0.20 a pop to you. Click Save.


5. From your cell phone, you will need to send a confirmation (a unique code, sent by Twitter, as shown above in green). You must send this message back to Twitter in order to verify that you can receive and send messages. Twitter will send one back to you: "Twitter has verified your device and sms alerts are enabled. Std msg charges apply. Send 'off' to silence or 'stop' to quit. Send 'help' for more." Nothing you do from your cell phone changes who you are following and whether you will receive their updates on your phone. For that, you will need to configure settings on the Web at for each individual.


6. From the Devices tab, you can now turn sms messaging on, off, or choose to receive only direct messages (DM's). With Device updates On or set to receive Direct Messages, you will receive all Direct Messages from people you follow, regardless of the general sms settings you've chosen for them.


7. Next, choose the times during which you do not want to be disturbed. My cell phone buzzes each time a new text message is received. I don't want to be awakened at 2 AM because someone I follow tweeted. To set up your quiet period, click the box next to "Turn off updates during these hours." Click the drop-down arrow next to each box and choose start and end times.



8. Now, for each person you follow whose updates you want to see on your cell phone, first go to the individual's Twitter home page (click @name next to one of their tweets, or click their avatar). The screen should look like this:


9. Click Device updates OFF. The yellow area shown above will expand to show additional options:


10. Below Device updates, click On. You will begin to receive this user's updates on your cell phone. To turn off this user's updates, you must come back to this page and click Off. Turning updates Off from your cell phone is only temporary, and does not change the options you've selected here.


  1. What can be clearer than that? The screen shots help a lot, Holly. Ahem.

    I'd be using this when I'm on the road traveling. You never know when you need help. And it helps stave off the anxiety of being unplugged for long. The horror! ",)

    Recent blog post: My Grandson, Me and the Politics of Blogging

  2. Thanks, Jan! The screen shots help, huh? Getting more followers? LOL!

    Recent blog post: How to: Get Twitter Tweets on Your Cell Phone


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