Saturday, March 05, 2011

Get Through, 3

A week ago, I wrote about using social media in the event of an emergency. I specifically mentioned using one’s cellphone to send an update to Facebook or Twitter by text message. Today, I’ll tell you how to do that.

  1. Log into Facebook.
  2. Click on “Account” and go to “Account Settings”
  3. Click on the tab that says “Mobile”.
  4. Select your network from the menu.
  5. Text the code the give you to the number provided. Don't close Facebook on your computer!!
  6. Facebook texts back a confirmation code.
  7. Enter that confirmation code and you’re done and good to go.
Sending a text to Facebook’s number will update your status, but you can also send a message to someone in particular, search for someone, etc., by typing a specific letter at the start (that's all in Mobile Help). But I figure, if I wanted to do that, I'd go on the web or use a mobile app, not do it by text.

All texts sent to you are turned off by default, which is a good thing. Keep in mind that if you have updates turned on, you could get a text at any time of the day or night, which isn’t pleasant.

Also, in New Zealand only Vodafone NZ and Telecom NZ are supported by Facebook (it’s Facebook’s decision what carriers to add, apparently, and isn’t up the cellphone companies). 2Degrees is not included by Facebook, however, 2Degrees has something they call Facebook Zero, which is free to use.


These instructions are modified from the official instructions from Twitter:
  1. Log in and click the settings link in the drop-down in the top right-hand corner of your screen, where you see your username.
  2. Click the Mobile tab on your profile's Settings page.
  3. Choose your country from the first drop-down box.
  4. Enter your number without a country code or leading zero (for example, a Vodafone NZ number would be 21, not 021, and Telecom NZ would be 27, not 027).
  5. Users outside the US need to choose their carrier from the drop-down box. If your carrier isn’t listed (and in New Zealand, only Vodafone NZ and Telecom NZ are listed), it’s still possible to send texts by way of the UK, Germany or Finland.
  6. Click “Start” to begin verifying your phone.
  7. You will be directed to send a text message, containing the word "GO", to your Twitter number.
  8. Send GO from your phone.
  9. After Twitter receives the confirmation code from you, your phone will be added and you'll be ready to use Twitter on your phone.
My advice is go to make sure that all updates sent to you are turned off. Just as with Facebook, above, this is especially important if you follow/are followed by people around the world. If you don’t do this, you’ll get texts any time of day or night. However, if there are certain people whose updates you DO want sent to your phone, you can easily add them on the web. I don’t have any Tweets sent to my phone by text.

That’s it. Once your phone is set-up, you’ll be able to send updates to Twitter and Facebook, even if you have no power and ordinary phone lines are down. In an emergency situation, cellphone calls may be hard to make, but texts will probably get through more easily.

Please keep one very important thing in mind: If you want to text Facebook and Twitter to let folks know you are okay, please wait to do so. People who are in real danger or who have immediate need for help should get first priority; keep off the network as long as possible after a disaster.

I offer these instructions, and the advice to use cellphone texting in an emergency, as a quick and easy way to let a lot of people know all at once that you’re okay. But common sense should make obvious that no one should ever text unimportant messages during an emergency.

Used responsibly, this can be a great way to let friends and family overseas know that you’re okay, and that will probably help you feel better, too.

No comments: