Twitter’s fast follow feature is something that has been around for a few years, but it’s not one I had ever heard of before. It’s also not something that I see anyone ever advertising, which I think is a mistake. I believe that there is a lot of good uses for this tool, and I just created a Twitter account today to use it explicitly with fast follow.
The whole idea behind fast follow is to be able to get tweets without having to actually create a Twitter account. You use your text messages and only your text messages to interact with Twitter. A fast follow account is completely separate from a full Twitter account, but you can upgrade a fast follow to a full account anytime you want. It’s really simple to follow someone’s tweets this way. You simply send a message to your country’s Twitter code (found here), and then in the message you write follow username. So if you live in the US and wanted to receive Twitter’s official tweets as text messages you would send the message follow twitter to 40404. You would then receive any tweets from Twitter as a text message on your phone.
As I said, I just created an account to be used for this purpose today for my church. This is an easy and free way to be able to send out mass text messages to people that want them. Now we have setup some guidelines for our use, and the main one is that we won’t tweet more than twice a week. The reason for this is a simple one, and that is we want to respect our people. For example, if you did a fast follow of @pocketables, you would be getting at least 10-15 texts a day, which would add up to over 300 messages a month! That’s more text messages than some people have on their plan.
One of the greatest things about fast follow is that it is entirely up to the person to opt-in to receiving messages, and they can opt out very easily any time they want. I know that I have gotten my cell number or email address on someones list before and had to fight to get it off the list. I’m sure everyone has had a similar experience. With fast follow, it is entirely up to the person whether they want to remain on the list or not. I believe this is probably one of the reasons you don’t hear of anyone really using it. Most companies view email addresses and phone numbers as gold, and are unwilling to give them up. While I agree that they are important, I also know a few companies that I have stopped buying anything from because they were such a pain to try and stop them from sending me things. I’m currently fighting with Sears to try and get my info removed from any mailing lists. But, I digress. If you are looking for a great way to communicate with people without a lot of hassle, give fast follow from Twitter a try.