TweetBeeper.com – A Free Email to Direct Message Service (and Email to SMS too)

August 14, 2010

I just uploaded Tweet Beeper to Google App Engine. It’s a simple application that receives an email, and then converts the subject line into a twitter direct message (which in turn can be an SMS sent to the recipients phone). A little whimsical, I know, but the weather was fairly average here this weekend!

TweetBeeper in 1 Minute

How do I use it? Easy!

  1. Follow @TweetBeeper on Twitter.
  2. Send a subject-line email to:
    your-twitter-id [at] tweetbeeper.appspotmail.com

What can it do?

  1. Cron Job Output to Direct Messages
  2. Webstore monitor failures to SMS
  3. Magento Sale notification emails (or any store)
  4. … and any other situations where email to SMS would be handy

TweetBeeper.com - Email to twitter Direct Message service

Why Use It?

TweetBeeper just does this one simple thing but it’s a piece of glue that my partner Cindy needed for her business Cheap Titles – they provide good value Certificates of Title in New Zealand within an hour (that’s fast!).

Basically when a title sells, Cindy needs to be notified that a land title search is pending. There wasn’t any obvious, easy (and free) email-to-SMS services that didn’t rely on the carrier code style email addresses (for example 1234567@vodafone.com).

However, Twitter does provide a SMS service for status updates or if you enable it, just direct messages. I figured I could glue together email and Twitter direct messages into a service that would let WP-E-Commerce send it’s notification emails directly to a special email address that in turn pings Cindy wherever she is via twitter direct message (and SMS).

Because I hate running web apps on my own servers – I use Google’s App Engine, which is a brilliant platform – I think it’s the future of computing.

Note: The observant among you will spot that Cheap Titles is an e-commerce store, but it is NOT running Magento, don’t worry I haven’t sold my soul – in fact I have an interesting blog article coming soon that compares WordPress + WP-E-Commerce with Magento. So subscribe to stay tuned.

Issues

There are several things I know I need to address (though if you spot other issues, please tell me!)

  • How can you ‘verify’ email addresses, like when using Gmail filters to forward specific emails to you@tweetbeeper.appspotmail.com. Normally you have to click on the link in an email to prove you own the address, and thus can send emails to it. (Gmail itself is a special case, because they put the activation code into the subject line of the email, which in turn gets sent as a direct message. Other services, not so.)
  • How to set up a mail server, or even better a reliable free service, that will turn forward emails of the form aschroder@tweetbeeper.com to aschroder@tweetbeeper.appspotmail.com – just until Google fixes this bug.
  • *bother* … I had another one in mind during development and now I forgot! I offer a mysterious prize for someone if they raise an issue that turns out to be the one I forgot!

Credit

This service was built by me using Google’s App Engine and Twitter4J. The cute bird is Pasquale D’Silva’s.

I would encourage everyone to try this Email to Tweet service out and let me know their thoughts.

Ashley

Posts

Hi! I'm Ashley Schroder, a Software Engineer from New Zealand - this is a collection of notes on my experiences with Ecommerce Web Development, particularly Magento Development.

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One response to TweetBeeper.com – A Free Email to Direct Message Service (and Email to SMS too)

  1. You are a lifesaver, but I worry a bit about privacy issues, how can I be assured you are not going to steal my identity?