How To: Post to Twitter & Facebook From a Smartphone With Your Voice

I’m a gadget early-adopter. I’m also an advocate of Apple products (I’m too grown to be a fan-BOY). So I think it’s completely justifiable that I bought the iPhone 4S at full price with no uber differentiating factors from my iPhone 4 other than a dual-core processor, higher resolution camera…and the Siri voice assistant. Now with all the apps I have and regularly use, and the amount of things I can accomplish with my phone (I get it in), the dual-core processor helps out. The ability to take higher resolution photos stops me from dragging around my regular “point-and-shoot” everywhere for when my daughters do something adorable (as they often do).

Siri on the other hand…I don’t use it. I think it’s because I habitually start typing instead of activating Siri to compose an SMS, IM, email message, etc. Considering how much money I wasted invested in this device, I figure I might as well use one of Apple’s main selling points for the 4S. After doing some research, I found out you can dictate Twitter and Facebook updates using any smartphone.

Before I get into the specifics of how to accomplish this using any smartphone, there are some settings in both Twitter and Facebook that need to be set.

Twitter Settings

You need to add your phone to your Twitter account. Below is how to do it completely via text, but you can also activate your phone by going to your profile’s mobile settings via Twitter.com

– Send a text with the word “START” to 40404
– Twitter will send you a series of messages prompting you to reply with your username (handle without the @ symbol) and password (case sensitive).
– Twitter will ask “is you’re sure this what you want to do?” (I’m paraphrasing). reply with “OK”.

Since you probably already use another Twitter mobile app, I would suggest you go to your Twitter profile’s mobile settings, and turn OFF any text message notifications. You just want to send messages and not receive them.

Facebook Settings

iPhone 4S

Even though iOS 5 has integrated several Twitter functions, using Siri wasn’t one of them. Since you can send a text message with Siri, and you can update Twitter and Facebook via text message. Logically, you can use Siri to send a text message to Twitter and Facebook. Create one contact in your phone for Twitter and use your Twitter code (40404) as the mobile number. Create another contact for Facebook and use the FB code (32665). Call the contacts what you want, but for simplicity, just use “Twitter” and “Facebook”.

Activate Siri and say something like “Tell Twitter I’m sending this tweet with my voice using Siri”. Siri will show you the draft and ask you to verify the message. Say

“OK” and Siri will send the text and Twitter will convert the text to a tweet (tip: you can say, “number sign” to create hashtags). You can do the same with Facebook. Just make sure they are contacts on your phone or it won’t work.

Android

Google Voice Search/Actions for Android is similar to Siri in that it can do several tasks from voice commands, but update Twitter and Facebook wasn’t on the “to-do list”. The workaround is the same for Android. Follow the steps above for adding Twitter and Facebook contacts, and send text messages to those contacts to covert them to tweets and updates.

Windows Phone

The same setup as iPhone/Android – You have to create contacts first before you can use the built-in voice command function. The cool thing about Windows Phone is that it reads the message back to you so you can audibly verify before you send it. That way you don’t have to look at your phone after you’ve activated the voice function.

BlackBerry

Sorry, there is no built-in voice command service, so you must download apps like Vlingo, which gives you the ability to dictate to social media networks just by logging in and authorizing the app. Honestly, RIM has bigger fish to fry than trying to keep up with Siri.

iPhone 4/3GS/3G

This is where apps like Dragon Dictation are pretty handy that can do this without all the setup. Just login to your accounts in the app, authorize the apps to post content on your behalf, and you’re done. The Voice Control function built into non 4S devices is pretty janky, and I would suggest opting for an app to do the heavy voice lifting. Just make sure you have the latest OS installed on your iPhone.

Feature Phones

…Sucks to be you. But it should be a little comforting to know that you still can get in on all the Twitter and Facebook action by adding your phone to your account. You will have to be picky in which text messages you choose to receive from these services.

With the latest iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone devices, you have to remember that standard text message rates apply. Be mindful of that before you sit on your phone composing tweets all day (I don’t want you blaming your high phone bill on me, instead of taking responsibility for your actions).

Honestly, I thought I was “Tardy for the Pardy” on sending voice tweets and status updates. Recently, several people were amazed that I was testing the functionality out, so I thought I would share. You don’t want to know how I was sending tweets while driving. Let’s just say I’m a safer person on the road now. If you have an idea for more ways to use voice commands on a smartphone, let us know in the comments section.

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Sumit

Sumit is an aspiring writer with an increased interest in Asian politics.Residing in New Delhi, he often writes about Diplomatic Relationships, Trade and International Business. Reach Sumit on Facebook / Twitter.

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