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Twitter Adds SMS Following

Mobile phone users can now receive tweets via SMS messages, without a Twitter account.

Twitter on Tuesday introduced new SMS-related enhancements to its service and is expected to launch a new tweet button for sharing Web content soon.

In a post on the Twitter blog, mobile UI designer Leland Rechis explains that Twitter users can now receive tweets on their mobile devices even if they don't have a Twitter account.

Texting "follow InformationWeek" to 40404, for example, allows users in the United States to receive tweets without a Twitter account.

Twitter is calling this capability Fast Follow and says it is working to make it available in other countries.

Sending tweets via SMS still requires an account, however. It's worth noting that those using Fast Follow do not show up in the followers list of the account being followed.

Twitter is also making other features available through SMS. Setting SMS Alerts, which can be done by clicking the mobile phone icon when accessing Twitter through a Web browser, can now also be done via SMS. A user simply needs to text "on [username]" or "off [username]" to 40404 in the U.S.

Texting "on" or "off" to Twitter without a specific name will turn Twitter SMS messages on or off completely. And texting "get [username]" will retrieve the specified user's most recent tweet.

Twitter is also reportedly planning to introduce an official Tweet Button to facilitate sharing article links. The button is supposed to track the number of times an article is shared, a metric publishes are sure to appreciate.

A service called TweetMeme already offers an embeddable retweet button.

According to Mashable.com, the Tweet Button could debut as soon as Thursday.

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