At ALA’s Mid-Winter Conference in January a teen services librarian asked members of the Teen Tech Week committee if we could recommend any Internet sites that allow users to send text messages to cell phones. The teens at her library had asked if they could receive event reminders via text messages sent to their cell phones rather than by standard e-mail. She was trying to find a way to accommodate their request that would be inexpensive and not too labor intensive. Since this was not the first time this question had been posed to members of the committee, I volunteered to do some research and see what’s out there.
My first round of searches didn’t generate any promising leads. Most of the sites were ad-heavy and did not provide any contact or ownership information. It was impossible to tell whether they were operated by reputable sources, or something less.
Eventually I stumbled across tech news blog, Mashable.com that reports on the latest in web technology. In April 2008, one of the blog’s contributors posted an entry entitled, â€œ10 Services To Send Text Messages From the Web.â€ The sites mentioned offer a variety of options for delivering messages at various price points, depending on the bells and whistles. OhDon’tForget.com, included as one of Time magazine’s 50 Best Websites of 2007, let’s you schedule the date and time and then delivers your message free of charge. (The message recipient pays applicable charges according to his or her cell phone plan.) ClearSMS.com is designed primarily for businesses and prices its services accordingly. The eight other options, many which I had never heard of, each try to fill a different niche in the text messaging market.
Have any of you YA librarians tried any of these online texting sites either at work, or for personal use? If you have a review or recommendation for any of these sites, it would be great if you could post it here.