How 40404 Changes Twitter

If you use Twitter regularly, you already know it’s a rich source of information and a powerful tool for engagement. But if you already use Twitter, you’ve also heard people give reasons why they don’t use it … it’s intimidating, it’s confusing, it’s too complicated. Getting used to a new social media platform takes time, especially in a space like Twitter, which can feel like it’s filled with people who were born understanding the language of hashtags, RTs and H/Ts.

And even for the initiated, trying to keep up with a Twitter timeline can feel like trying to drink from a fire hydrant.

Enter 40404, which allows anyone to subscribe to specific Twitter users and receive their tweets as SMS text messages on a mobile phone. It requires no Twitter account, no computer, no login. For example, text Follow @nspra to the phone number 40404, and you’ll receive all of NSPRA’s tweets as text messages. Do the same for your superintendent or other district voices, and you’ll be able to keep tabs in real time on what is being pushed out.

In my district, our high school activities director manages a Twitter account that includes scoring updates and schedule changes — the information that students, families and fans want. Encouraging these people to subscribe to tweets with 40404 helps them get the information they want. But a subscription also means they also will receive the information that’s important to us, such as a reminder for online enrollment or request to contact legislators.

The 40404 function isn’t new — in fact, it’s been around since 2010. But as Twitter becomes an ever-more effective tool for school districts to communicate with different audiences, it makes even more sense to engage audience members in a customized, direct way that feels comfortably familiar.

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This entry was posted in Social Media, Twitter by Kristin Magette. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kristin Magette

I'm passionate about making things better through strategic communications and collaboration. I am director of communications for a small, rural public school district just outside of Kansas City. I'm also the author of Embracing Social Media: A Practical Guide to Manage Risk and Leverage Opportunity. Learn more about my book -- and about me -- at kristinmagette.com.

2 thoughts on “How 40404 Changes Twitter

  1. Hi Kristin. I had no idea about this service, but when I entered the number in my text field, I found that I had unknowingly used it before while engaging with others on Twitter. Not sure how, though.

    • The app will sometimes ask you to secure your account with a cell phone number — if you’ve done that, it may give you that appearance. Either way, all you have to do is text “Follow @username” (without the quotes) to 40404, and you’re set!

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