Smart-phones can be great tools for keeping up with your friends on social media, instant messaging platforms and even via email. Apps make it easy to do all these things with minimal hassle. The problem is that data plans are often the most expensive part of a cell phone plan. They can double the cost of your monthly bill, and can even triple it if you go over your allotted amount of gigabytes. For this reason, good, old-fashion text messaging can still be the best way to keep in touch. Texting is dirt-cheap and is included in most basic phone plans. It is possible, when on the go, to completely forget your smart-phone’s app capabilities and simply run all your social media and chatting through SMS. No, this is not ideal if you want a complete computer-like experience while on the go, but it is a good option if you want to save some serious money on your cell phone bill each month.
Here is how text messaging is still useful for people who want to chat with friends, get email, and participate in social media.
Instant Message via text
Instant messaging via text is very simple. Anyone with a Yahoo! Instant Messenger account, for example, can set up their account so that messages are sent directly to their phone via SMS when they are not logged in. All that is required is selecting that option on their account page and then entering their telephone number. Doing this means that it is possible to chat without having any internet connection or data service. The only drawback is that it is not quite as fast to chat via text as it is to chat via a dedicated internet connection. But, if you have some sort of unlimited text plan, then it is a great option for saving money on data charges. Since unlimited talk and text plans start at around $35 per month on some prepaid carriers, instant messaging via text can be a very big money-saver.
Facebook via text
Though it is a little bit trickier to participate on Facebook via text, it is still not impossible. Facebook does have a feature that allows Facebook users to receive notifications via text and then respond via text. All that is required is going online and signing up for mobile text updates on your Facebook account page. You have to enter your phone number and a few more pieces of information, then you can start receive updates via SMS. It is also possible to post status updates and to respond to updates sent by others. While this is certainly not the best option if you want to have a complete Facebook experience while on the go, it is a great way to keep up with all the important updates that you need to read.
Tweet via text
Twitter is the easiest social media site for people who want to participate via text. Since most text messages allow the same amount of characters as a tweet, people who send tweets via text are not losing anything at all by foregoing their data connection. It is easy to set up your account so that you can send tweets via your phone. You can also receive tweets from the people that you follow. This can get tricky, however, if you follow lots of people, because you will constantly be getting text messages with the latest tweets. One way to avoid this is to organize your Twitter stream on a third party app like TweetDeck. You can set it up so that only relevant tweets are sent to your phone. You can then log on and read your entire stream when you have an internet connection.
Don’t throw away your smart-phone
If you have a phone that can get a wi-fi connection, you can keep it and use it whenever you are in a hotspot. This means that you can run all your apps without a data plan, and that you will only have to rely on text when you are outside of the hot-spot.