There are plenty of reasons to avoid buying a smart phone these days, chief among them the cost of not just the device itself but the monthly data plan charge to go along with it. However, just because you don’t have a smart phone doesn’t mean you can’t use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare while on the go. In this post I’ll show you how to get started with each of those services, and all you need is a texting plan!
Facebook on a Feature Phone
Facebook already has a built-in feature called Mobile Texts that can be activated from your Account Settings section at Facebook.com. From this section you have a ton of control over what gets sent to your phone, including which of your friends updates will be texted to you and what times the service will be activated (for example, you could say only send updates between 8:00AM and 5:00PM). Alternatively, if you’re concerned about running up the number of texts Facebook is sending you in a day, you can even set a cap so that Facebook doesn't overdo it. Facebook mobile texts will also allow you to update your own status, or post on your friends’ walls without an internet connection. But what about photo and video uploads?
Once you’ve setup mobile texts you’ll also want a way to add multimedia content to your Facebook page. In order to do that you can take advantage of the free email address Facebook provides with your account. To find out what your email address is, visit facebook.com/mobile - be sure to keep this email address to yourself as it’s specific to your profile or page! Once you’ve noted the address, just send MMS messages from your phone to the email address and your photos and videos will show up on your wall automatically.
Foursquare on a Feature Phone
Now you’re sharing content with your friends on Facebook, but wouldn’t you like to tell them about all of the cool places you’ve visited? Once again the power of SMS comes to your rescue if you don’t have internet access on your phone. To get started with Foursquare SMS check-ins just follow the 3 steps below:
- To get started, go to http://dotgo.com/res/foursquare/ on your computer and click to authorize your phone (you'll be asked to log in to your foursquare account).
- When you receive a unique pin number, use your mobile phone to text "foursquare + pin#" to DOTCOM (368266).
- Once authorized, you'll see a menu of actions. For example, text "3 empire state building" to 368266 to check in to the Empire State Building. You can always text "foursquare" to 368266 to see the menu again.
It may not be as quick as checking in on a mobile app but it works just as well! You’ll get a rundown of the number of check-in points you’ve earned for checking into a location, you’ll see who the mayor is and also if any of your friends are at the location with you.
Twitter on a Feature Phone
I saved the easiest service for last. Twitter was built from the beginning to be a service accessed with SMS. You know that 140 character limit? It turns out that’s just 20 characters less than the standard total of characters allowed in a single text message! Assuming you’ve already created an account at Twitter.com, getting your mobile phone ready to tweet is a breeze.
First off, you need to locate your country’s shortcode right here. If you’re in the United States the code is 40404. Text the word START to your shortcode, and you’ll be walked through the process of creating a new Twitter account or linking an account that you’ve already created. Once your account is linked you can update your Twitter status, keep track of old friends and even start following new ones all by texting your shortcode.
So there you have it - you don’t need to have the latest and greatest device to have fun using some of the coolest social media services on the web. If you have more questions about getting started with the services above with your feature phone please post a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out!