How to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Foursquare via SMS

Staying social while your mobile doesn’t mean you have to pay for a data plan. Using SMS, you can update and receive status messages from your favorite social networks using the messaging plan you probably already have.
Using social networks via Short Message Service (SMS) will not only cut down on your mobile phone bill, it will also increase your phone’s battery life, and allow you to stay up to date with social networks without needing a smartphone. Being able to send a simple SMS makes updating fast and available on every mobile phone available today (so long as your plan supports it). During busy situations like natural disasters and large events, SMS is also much more reliable than data plans which makes it ideal if you just need to get the word out about where you are.



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After a full week of using social networks this way, there were a couple of benefits I didn’t expect.

  • I didn’t find myself anxious to check my social networks when I was at my computer. All of the people I cared to hear from, I already got notified.
  • I didn’t randomly check my phone when with other people; my phone now tells me when there is something worth checking.
  • I am able to check all of my social networks in a “unified app.” Managing updates and replies are all handled the same way weather they are for Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

There are a few downsides of using social networks via SMS:

  • Some social network don’t supports MMS messaging for pictures or videos. If your friends post pictures or videos, you’ll still need to load an app or visit the web page.
  • SMS messages have a 160 character limit, this is fine for services like Twitter and foursquare, but if you have long posts on Facebook or Google+, your message may lose formatting or be split into smaller updates.
  • You need to be selective in what notifications you get. Your phone may never stop getting messages if you got a text for every Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Foursquare update.
  • There is some setup required, it’s not very hard and we’ll walk you through the steps below.
  • It will be impossible to distinguish between social network SMSs and normal SMSs. This means, if you are getting a lot of messages from social networks, you might miss important SMSs from friends.
  • Some functionality is limited such as autofilling a friends name or replying to a post depending on what network you are on.
  • To our knowledge, all of the numbers below only work in the United States. Sorry, rest of the world.

All that aside, with some careful planning this method has worked great for me for the past week and I have fully cancelled my data plan saving me almost $600 a year.
If you give this system a try, let us know what your experience is like or if you have any other tips in the comments.
Facebook (32665)
Facebook not only allows you to subscribe to your friend’s updates and post updates via SMS, but they also allow you to use Facebook chat. First you need to activate SMS messaging in Facebook’s settings. Get started by logging into your account and going to your account settings.

Click on mobile on the left and then add a phone using the steps Facebook provides.

Now that your phone is authorized, edit the settings so they are exactly how you want.
In the screenshot below we recommend checking the box by number 1, add whatever friends you want to receive notifications from on number 2, and set your settings for Facebook instant messages and daily limit next to number 3.
If you want to send pictures or videos to Facebook from your phone you’ll need to click number 4 to get your unique email address that will let you upload media messages.

After you click on link four, look for your unique mobile upload email.

If you want to receive messages from Facebook pages, you’ll need to go to that page, and click “get updates via SMS” on the left hand column.

You are ready to receive updates now. To send updates we recommend you add a contact named fbook to your phone with the mobile number 32665 and email address for mobile uploads.
To send updates just make a new SMS message to 32665 with your status in the message body. Upload photos and videos by sending them via MMS to the email address provided. You can also reply to someones update by replying to the SMS message that was sent to you.

There are a few other commands you can send which you can find in the Facebook help section. You can also send an SMS message with the word “help” to be sent the commands. Just don’t try to update your status when you need “help” as the only word.

Twitter (40404)

Twitter works much the same way for setup. Log in and go to settings -> mobile. Add your number and change the settings you want below.

Now go to your list of followers and turn on mobile notifications for people you want SMS messages for.

You should now add a twitter contact in your phone with the mobile number 40404. This will identify all incoming messages and allow you to quickly send messages to the contact.
You can send text or picture (MMS) to your new twitter contact and they will automatically be posted to your feed.

One downside to Twitter SMS is if you reply to a tweet via SMS, it does not automatically send an @reply to the user who sent the message. You will need to manually add the @username information manually.
There are also some extra commands you can use with Twitter. Just like the other social networks, send an SMS with the world “help” to receive the following commands.

Google+ (33669)

Log in to Google+ and go to settings to add your phone number; enter the verification number they will send to you.

Change your settings and notification settings from the main settings page.

Text messages will send updates just like they do for Facebook and Twitter. Picture messages are not supported via MMS at this time for Google+. Instead you can log into picasaweb.google.com, go to settings and set up a secret email address for your photo uploads.

Once you send a picture via email, it will be automatically added to a drop box album in Picasa. By default this album is not shared with anyone, but you can easily change its visibility from within Google+.
New pictures will not generate new posts automatically, but the pictures will still be visible if someone browses your albums.

By default, SMS posts are shared with everyone in your circles, but you can add or remove circles using the + or @ symbol
You can get a list of available commands by sending the “help” command to 33669.

Foursquare (368266)

To activate Foursquare on your phone you need to go to DotGo and authorize their app to access your Foursquare account.

Once you receive your authorization pin, send an SMS to DOTCOM (368266) with the message “foursquare +pin.” You will then be sent a menu of commands you can use with Foursquare.
The basic command you will probably use is “foursquare at place [zip code]”. The “foursquare at” command checks you in to the first search result for the place you specified. If you are not sure the place name you can use the “foursquare checkin place [zip code]” and you will be messaged back with a list of location that match your search. You can then check in to one of the returned results by just replying to the message with the number of the returned result.
Foursquare isn’t as intuitive as some of the other social networks, but we found it to be usable even without GPS assistance or a smartphone.

If you need help, you can message 368266 with the word foursquare to get a list of commands.

How to Backup Your Social Media Accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

How much of your life is recorded online? Spend a moment considering this and it’s likely to be a terrifying idea. You may not consider yourself the type of person to keep a journal, or even a blog, but over the years you have probably posted thousands of words on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Add to this the images you may have posted and this is data you may well want to record. Could you bear to lose all of this? We’ll show you how to backup all of this data so you can keep it for posterity.
The chances of Facebook, Twitter or Google losing all of your data are fairly slim, but by opting to download it you not only make all of your status updates, images and more available offline, you also make it far easier to work with and can make use of it in different ways.
There are slightly different methods and techniques used by each social network, but you can request and download all of your data free of charge. Here’s how to go about it.



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Facebook

Log into your Facebook account, click the gear icon to the upper right of the page and select Account Settings. Make sure that you are in the General section of the settings and click the ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’ link to the right.

There are a couple of options available to you now – downloading a regular archive, or opting for the expanded one. The basic download, referred to by Facebook as Downloaded Info, includes details of your check-ins, chats, general account details, your photos and more.
There are also an ‘expanded archive’ option which includes far more detail including the apps you have installed, a list of people who have been unfriended, data that has been hidden from your newsfeed and details of IP addresses that have logged into your account. Full details of the differences between the two different archives can be found in Facebook’s help pages.

To download a copy of your basic Facebook archive, click the Start my Archive button followed by ‘Start my archive’. After clicking Confirm, you’ll have to sit back and wait while your data is collected together. You will then receive an email letting you know when the archive is ready for download.

If you’re more interested in obtaining the complete history of your account, you should instead click the ‘expanded archive’ link. Enter your password and click Continue. As with the regular archive, you then need to click ‘Start my archive’ followed by Confirm.

In either case you’ll receive an email containing your archive ready for browsing.

Twitter

Downloading your Twitter archive is similarly simple. Log into your account, click the gear icon to the upper right of the page and then click Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Request your archive’ button in the ‘Your Twitter archive’ section.

As with Facebook, you’ll have to wait a little while for the archive to be prepared, so click the Close button and await the arrival of the confirmation email – in all likelihood this won’t take too long to arrive. Click the ‘Go now’ button in the email

Click the Download button to grab your tweets.zip archive, which you can then extract using your tool of choice. Twitter archives are provided in both HTML and CSV formats.

Google+

To download your Google+ data, log into your account, click your profile picture to the upper right of the page and then click Account.  You have the choice of downloading all of your Google data – everything from Picasa albums to Google Voice data – in one fell swoop, or you can download different archives individually.

To keep things simple and download everything at once, click the ‘Download your data’ button. This will take you to Google Takeaway where you’ll need to enter your password again. You can go ahead and move to the ‘Choose services’ section to select individual services to download data from if you like, but otherwise just click Create Archive.

Instragram

Freeing your photos from Instagram requires the use of a secondary website – it is not a service provided by Instagram. Instaport enables you to download your entire account as a zip file, and there are plans to also allow data to be transferred to Facebook or Flickr.

Visit the Instaport website and click ‘Sign in with Instagram’ before providing authorizing the connection to your account. Make sure that ‘Download .zip file’ is selected and click the Start Export button.
This time around you’ll have to keep checking back to the page to see when your archive is ready as no confirmation email is sent out. Just how long this will take depends on how many images you have uploaded.
If you want to get more specific about the images you want to download rather than just grabbing the whole lot, click the Advanced Options link to access additional settings such as images from a certain time frame.

Have you backed up your social media data, or is it all just pictures of cats and food?

How to Quit Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Other Social Networks

There can be few computer users who do not have at least one social networking account – the likes of Facebook and Twitter are just so prevalent these days. But while it’s easy to sign up for an account, closing one down is not always so simple. Until now.
We recently looked at how you can go about backing up the posts you have made and the photos you have uploaded to various social networks. Before you take the step of closing down your account, you might want to consider doing just this so you at least have a record of your online activity.



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Facebook

Since it is possibly the most popular social network, it makes sense to start by taking a look at Facebook. Here there are two options available to you if you decide that you are in need of a Facebook sabbatical. If you’re not sure about how serious you are about leaving Zuckerberg’s network, deactivation may be the best option.
Going down this route basically puts your accounts on hold and enables you to reactivate should you change your mind further down the line. To start the process, pay a visit to the deactivation page.

You will be reminded that your Facebook friends will not be able to contact you (through Facebook, at least), but you’ll need to specify why you are choosing to leave. This done, click Confirm and you will vanish from Facebook until you decide to reactivate – this can be done by simply logging into your account as normal.

If you decide you want to take things further and completely delete your account, you should visit the account removal page instead. Click the Delete My Account button and you’ll be asked to provide your password and complete a captcha.

You are still given a slight safety buffer. Your account will initially be deactivated and will be completely deleted provided you leave it alone for two weeks. Resist logging in for 14 days and your account will be gone forever.

Twitter

Had enough of tweeting? Head over to the Twitter website, log into your account, click the cog icon to the upper right of the page and select Settings. At the bottom of the page, click the ‘Deactivate my account’ link.

Click the button to deactivate your account. As the warning points out, your account will initially be deactivated and after 30 days of inactivity will be deleted. If you change your mind about leaving Twitter, simply log back into your account within 30 days of deactivation.

Google+

You can opt of out of using the Google+ component of Google, or you can cut ties completely. Head over to the Google website, click your account avatar to the upper right of the pages and then click the Account link.
There are now three options available to you, although looking in the Account Management section of the page you’ll only see two listed.

If you just want to abandon Google+, click the ‘Delete profile and remove related Google+ features’ link. You can then choose between deleting just your Google + content, bearing mind all of the caveats that are pointed out – such as losing the ability to use Sign In With Google on various websites.
Tick the Required box and then the ‘Remove selected services’ button. Alternatively, you can select the ‘Delete your entire Google profile’ option. This will enable you to wipe out your presence from not only Google+, but also YouTube and Google Buzz.

Google also enables you to completely delete your account – just click the ‘Close account and delete all services and information associated with it’ link in the Account Management section of your account.
As this process involves deleting a large amount of data, you will be asked to confirm that you definitely want to proceed. Check each of the boxes next to the various Google service – from AdSense to YouTube – and then enter your password. You’ll also have to check the ‘Yes, I want to delete my account’ option before you click the Delete Google Account button.

Instagram

If you feel you’ve shared too many photos through Instagram, you may decide that the easiest option is to simply close down your account. Pay a visit to the Instagram website , click your username to the upper right of the page and select Edit Profile.
Towards the bottom right of page, click the ‘I’d like to delete my account link’, use the drop down menu to provide a reason for the deletion, and then enter your password before you click the ‘Permanently delete my account’ button.

Flickr

Instagram is far from being the only photo sharing service, and Flickr is probably still the most popular in some circles. To delete your account and online photos, log into your account, click the smiley icon to the upper right and select Settings from the menu.
Near the bottom of the page, click the ‘Delete your Flickr account’ link and confirm that you’re happy to continue by clicking OK – Next.

Other Account Terminations

These are just some of the online services you may want to walk away from – there are many, many more that you may have used and changed your mind about. We could list every single online account you might want to close here, but that would make for a very long article.
You might also want to take a look at AccountKiller which provides details of how to delete all manner of online accounts. Services are organized into a whitelist (those that provide a simple account deletion process), a greylist (those that are a little troublesome) and a blacklist (those services that do not allow for account deletion or make it tricky).

Have you had trouble deleting a particular online account? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn: Sponsored publications and updates

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn offer several marketing tools for companies wishing to develop their online presence through their account/business page. These tools will improve the visibility of your publications, help to recruit new subscribers or improve brand visibility. How sponsored tweets /publications/ articles work? What are the rates and how to access these services?

Twitter: the Sponsored Tweets

===What are Sponsored Tweets?====
The "Sponsored Tweets" allow companies to broaden the scope of their messages shared on Twitter web service and mobile applications (including third-party applications) and to reach a new audience.

For which companies?

This service is intended for any business present on Twitter, wishing to promote its services/solutions/products to a targeted audience (e.g geolocation).
Sponsored tweets appear in the news feeds of Twitter members (subscribers and non-subscribers of the account from which the campaign was launched), based on various criteria (targeted marketing).

Benefit

  • Increase the range of important tweets beyond the "organic" audience (limited to followers) to promote business operations/products.
  • Recruit new followers

Features

  • Targeting marketing. campaign can be targeted according to different criteria: geolocation (country, city), gender and interests of members, terminal used (PC, tablet or smartphone)
  • Analysis. A tracking tool to trac results of an advertising campaign in real-time (impressions, click-through rate)

Prices

  • The pricing model of service is the "cost per click". The service is charged upon each interaction between Twitter user and a promoted tweet (retweet, reply,..)
  • The pricing is based on an auction system: it is necessary to set a daily budget for your promotional campaign by specifying a maximum amount you want to spend per click.
  • The cost per click is between 0.50 and 1.50 USD
  • The service is billed on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, until the exhaustion of your credits.

Links

  • Learn more about sponsored tweets
  • Start a promoted tweets campaign

Facebook: The sponsored updates

===What are Sponsored updates?====
Like the sponsored tweets, sponsored updates on Facebook can extend the scope of publications made on a Facebook Page, making them visible in the newsfeeds of members.
Learn more on this page: Facebook – Target your status updates

For which companies?

Any B2C company (local business and pure player) wishing to promote content (photo, video, link) on Facebook, next to their prospects. This function is only available for pages with least 400 subscribers.

Benefits

  • Promote a special offer (discount on a product, promotional and seasonal sale)
  • For local businesses (shops) generate traffic.
  • Recruit new fans and brand ambassadors

Specifications

  • The sponsored updates appear in the news feed of members (subscribers to the page) and in the thread of their friends.
  • Displayed on all devices (web interface, mobile application)

Price

The sponsored updates are billed to the unit: the cost is gradual and depends on the number of members affected by the publication. You can manually set a price.
For example:

  • €5 = between 8800 and 16,600 members
  • €2300 = between 2.7 million and 5 million members

Links

  • Learn more Promoted Posts on Facebook
  • Improve the visibility of your publications on social networks.

LinkedIn: Sponsored Updates

===What are Sponsored updates?====
Read: LinkedIn introduces the Sponsored Updates
===For which companies?====
This service is especially important to companies providing B2B services/solutions/products.

Benefits

  • Reach a specific audience (policy makers, business executives)
  • Strengthen the brand image,
  • Improve the visibility of your job offers

Features

  • Targeted marketing: It is possible to target LinkedIn members according to several criteria: geolocation, size of business, line of business, position held and years of experience.
  • Analytics tool to evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns.

Price

Cost per 1000 impressions or cost per click.
The cost is determined by an auction system.
Social interactions with the sponsored updates (comments, likes, shares) do not result in additional costs

Links

  • Sponsored Updates User Guide (PDF guide)
  • Start your advertising on LinkedIn

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