July 22, 2008

Identi.ca Launches SMS Support, Sort Of.

Guest Post By Jesse Stay of Stay N' Alive (Twitter/FriendFeed)

It seems, amongst all the identi.ca, Twhirl and Posty hoopla, today we seemed to have missed one important feature -- that identi.ca, at some point recently, launched SMS notifications via their settings interface.

Currently, if you log into identi.ca, then click on settings in the header, you'll notice a new tab in your settings called "SMS". If you click on the SMS tab it allows you to set up your cell phone among various carriers and notifications will be sent to you if you opt to do so.

The service doesn't seem to have full SMS support yet though, as they are apparently utilizing SMS via e-mail which according to my own sources in the industry, isn't the most reliable method of sending SMS. I tried it out, and while it seemed to work well by sending all my friends' updates to my cell phone (there is no ability yet that I'm aware to turn off notifications for individuals via SMS, which is a major problem), the messages I received were unorganized and hard to read.

Each one was also sent from a different number, making it hard to keep all the messages in one place. It also seems that you can't post messages back to identi.ca from your cell phone, another must have if it is going to be a true competitor with Twitter or Jaiku. You can see how bad it got after 10 messages or so on my iPhone.

Having SMS available as an option on identi.ca is a nice, and very welcome, addition. This shows they are truly in the game and have strong potential to be a mobile status and communication tool like Twitter. For me, I like to use SMS with Twitter to filter out the posts of the thousand or so I follow into a small segment I can pay attention to. SMS also enables me to easily message others via one interface, and post statuses from wherever I am located. Knowing this is on its way with identi.ca, along with Monday's launch of both Twhirl and Posty integration, makes them a strong consideration for me to begin using much more often now. However, I still think they have a long way to go before they fully match Twitter's feature-set and can compete head-on.

I'm excited to see where this all ends up. You can find me actively using identi.ca at http://identi.ca/jessestay. Louis can similarly be found at http://identi.ca/louisgray.