Edit 14/02/2015: For about a year now we have been using Telegram instead of Twitter and it has proved to be much more suited to our needs. Highly recommended.
I’ve finally discovered a use for Twitter – sharing weather conditions from our flying sites. Pilots who follow avonhgpg can send SMS updates to twitter.com from the hill, and other followers of avonhgpg will receive those SMS updates on their phones (Vodafone, Orange, 3 and O2 customers only) for free. Here’s how it works…
1. Go to www.twitter.com and create an account.
2. Go to Settings > Mobile on you twitter page and register your mobile phone.
3. Go to www.twitter.com/avonhgpg and click the Follow button.
4. When you’ve clicked the Follow button a tiny grey button showing a mobile phone inside a circle appears to the right of the green “Following” button – clicking on it means that tweets from this person will be sent to your phone as SMS messages.
5. Go to www.twitter.com/avonairspace and click the Follow button in order to receive Bath Gap and Westbury airspace notifications. Then repeat step 4 above.
6. At some point (maybe hours, maybe a couple of days later), you will receive a welcome message from avonhgpg reminding you of how to send a message to the group.
7. Once you’re following avonhgpg and have received this message as confirmation that avonhgpg is following you, you can send a message to the group by sending a text to 86444 (Vodafone, Orange, 3 and O2 customers) or +44 7624 800379 if you’re not on those networks by texting “d avonhgpg your message goes here” without the quotes. eg. “d avonhgpg Westbury, NW 10mph, four flying, looks lovely!“
(NB. Alternatively you can try sending an “@mention” message – eg. “@avonhgpg your message goes here“, although I have found this method less reliable than the direct messages)
8. You can find help on using your mobile phone for Twitter here – https://support.twitter.com/groups/54-mobile-apps#topic_225
That’s it, should only take a couple of minutes…
NB. Only phones on Vodafone, Orange, 3 and O2 networks (or other networks that piggyback on those carriers) will receive SMS updates. However you can send updates which will benefit other pilots regardless of what network you’re on.
That’s it – happy tweeting!
For the group organiser
1. Create the “group” account on www.twitter.com (NB. There is no such thing as a group account, it’s just a normal account).
2. Goto www.grouptweet.com and register the new “group” twitter account.
3. Goto www.socialoomph.com and create a free account, and set it so that your group account automatically follows all new followers. You can also specify a welcome message that gets sent to all new followers. (NB. It takes up to 8 hours to auto-follow your followers)
Instead of having to send a direct message to avonhgpg (ie. “d avonghpg message”), pilots can now simply mention avonhgpg (ie. “@avonhgpg message”) and the message will get sent to all followers.
For organisers, all you need to do is register your club’s Twitter account at www.spotd.com (for free), which is much simpler than signing up with GroupTweet and SocialOomph. @Mentions get retweeted every five minutes which should be sufficient.
The @mention method seems less reliable than direct messages, so I would recommend using the “d avonhgpg message” method of tweeting.
Q. Do you receive the messages on your mobile as normal text messages?
A. Yes, if you’re on Vodafone, Orange, 3 or O2. I’m not sure about other networks. But only if you’ve registered your mobile phone and set device updates ON for avonhgpg as per the instructions above.
Q. Can you send stuff via normal text messages, and how?
A. With Vodafone, Orange, 3 or O2, once you have registered your phone successfully, you’ll receive a text message from twitter from the short code 86444. You can use this number to text to. With other networks the number is 07624 800379.
Q. If I just do a tweet, only people following me will see it, right?
Q. Does this mean that the group list will get it, as that says it’s following me?
Q. If I want to tweet to the group I start my tweet with ‘@avonhgpg’.
Q. This tweet will then only go to the group?
NB. If you do an @mention to me – eg. “@flyAszent hello” – don’t worry, it won’t be sent out to my followers! The only reason avonhgpg’s followers receive these SMS notifications is because I’ve signed up the account to a couple of services which do this automatic retweeting of DMs and @mentions.
Q. Do I have to receive notifications via SMS?
No, not if you’ve got a smartphone such as an iPhone or Android. If you’re using an iPhone (on whatever network) I thoroughly recommend downloading the free Boxcar app, or if you’ve got an Android phone then try TweetDeck. But with Boxcar, add a new service to follow either individual club’s site report twitter accounts, or you can shortcut that and follow my site reports list (@flyAszent/site-reports) which includes the following accounts:
Some of these are rarely used, but avonhgpg, tvhgcsites and skysurfingclub are active. Having added this list (or individual accounts) you can then turn off the SMS mobile notifications for these accounts by logging into twitter.com and clicking on your following list. So now you’ll receive push notifications on your smartphone rather than text messages.