There are many group/campus text messaging companies that offer an array of services for a fee or free, but if you are just looking to broadcast messages with a group via txt without anyone having to sign up for something new, then surprisingly, Twitter might be your best free option with their service called SMS follow. Twitter’s SMS follow has actually been around for many years, as explained by Mike Richwalsky back in 2009 and how he used it as Allegheny College’s free text messaging service for their orientation. The best part is students don’t even need to know they’re using Twitter beyond a simple welcome message. They can join the campus texting group without a pre-existing Twitter account. How?
Once you have a Twitter account, you advertise to students that if they text follow youraccountname to 40404, they will get updates on their phone. That’s it.
Mike goes on to explain how he used the Twitter trick to communicate with all the incoming students as part of his school’s orientation program.
We’ve set up a Twitter account (@alleghenyorient) for our orientation team and we’ve trained them in how to post updates from the web as well as from their phones as they’re out and about around campus during the program.
Now that we’ve set up the team and the account, it’s time to start telling the students about it. We’ve posted on our Orientation site with a link to our regular Twitter page as well as how they text a follow message to 40404. We’re also going to start promoting it in our Class of 2013 pages.
They also sent out the post card below with orientation information and how to join their mobile group.
Quick, easy, fun, and free. Here’s to leveraging mobile phones to increase student engagement!
This post is part of our #App2Campus series, which aims to share ideas for using mobile to drive student engagement on campus. We will hear from all kinds of #SApros who have used phone technology to foster a sense of community and connection between the students, face to face. For more information, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out other posts in this series.