Mobile text notifications from Twitter are very useful. Whether it’s a mention, a tweet being favourited or you’re following the tweets of a specific account (eg. Favourite sports team, breaking news, friend or relative) a real-time SMS notification will always keep you up to date. Last week my mobile network – Vodafone UK – stopped delivering SMS notifications from Twitter so here’s how I restored them using IFTTT as a third party relay.

Vodafone UK Twitter SMS

Why not just use the Twitter app’s push notifications?

Good question. If you can guarantee that you’ll always have a strong 3G signal or you don’t mind waiting until you get to one for the push notification to be delivered then fine. We all know though that 3G signals aren’t that reliable everywhere and certainly are poor in places (eg. large buildings, underground car parks, trains, etc.). Another reason is so that when on holiday you only receive the push notifications using very expensive roaming charges or having to hunt down a wifi location whereas an SMS will still be delivered regardless of where you are in the world – at no extra charge (in most cases).

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT stands for If This Then That and is available from ifttt.com. It is a service which connects to nearly 150 different channels from RSS feeds and social media sites through to really random things like NASA images of the day and your home’s light switches perhaps. Each of these channels has specific triggers set against it like “when a new facebook status is posted”, “when a new GMAIL email is received”, etc. Every channel’s trigger can be connected to an action on another channel to generate what they call “recipes”. These are where the IFTTT comes in as the recipies are of the format…

IFTTT Format

IFTTT Format

…so you can see the power of what you can achieve using this free service by linking any channel’s trigger with the action of another.

Twitter SMS Notifications

So, how do you set these up? Firstly, you need to create an IFTTT account which is free and activate the Twitter and SMS channels. Then use either of these public recipies of mine to start you off with monitoring a specific Twitter account for new tweets or listening for mentions of a specific Twitter account.

IFTTT Recipe: Send me a text every time a specific user on Twitter tweets something connects twitter to smsIFTTT Recipe: Send me a text when I get a mention on Twitter connects twitter to sms

So, hope you found this useful and it helps you keep up-to-date socially with your favourite Twitter accounts. Any questions/comments or ideas for new recipies let me know in the comments below.