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August 31, 2010

Twitter As A Free Campus, Group Text Messaging Provider (Updated)

In May 2009 I wrote a post on how to turn Twitter into a free SMS alert system for your campus. Back then, the major hang up was people had to have a Twitter account for it to work. With student adoption of Twitter hovering pretty low at colleges, this was a problem.

Last week Twitter recognized the issue and introduced an updated tool called Fast Follow.

"The mobile team here at Twitter has rolled out a new feature called Fast Follow, and its genius lies in its simplicity: text “follow [account]” to 40404 (Twitter’s U.S. shortcode) and you’ll immediately start getting that account’s tweets via SMS—without ever signing up for Twitter."

Eric Stoller, writer for Inside Higher Ed, reported on Fast Follow and how it could be integrated into the campus culture.

"You could place your school's admissions Twitter account name and the Twitter SMS number on your marketing collateral. A school could even have multiple Twitter accounts that could then be included on strategic mailings or promotional microsites. Campaign tracking would be a snap! Prospective students do not have to be on Twitter to use Fast Follow."

Enterprise SMS tools will have a hard time justifying large price tags when competing against...free. I suspect an advantage they will have is back end assessment data. Though, knowing Twitter's history of openness, might be provided by a third party tool soon.

Curious to know if anyone has tried mass, or even departmental adoption of Fast Follow at their campus?

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