Using social media without Internet in Kenya
There are several ways to connect your mobile phone to various blogging and social media websites in Kenya, and none of these require more than five minutes to set up. I only cover free services below.
In general, any website that offers a “post by email” feature will work from a mobile phone, if you use the sms2email feature on Safaricom or other mobile provider.
- Setup your Safaricom phone with sms2email
- Setup WordPress Blog posting by email
- Setup auto message forwarding from WordPress to Facebook and Twitter
- Setup Facebook’s blog by email
- Twitter via mobile phone? (Sorry Africa – twitter quietly denied you this service in 2009. You can only do this via a third-party company, and they charge you about 10 cents a tweet. Not worth it.)
1. Setup your Safaricom phone with sms2email
[These directions have been copied from the page linked to the logo above.]
Sms2email – allows you to send sms to an e-mail address and an e-mail to sms
All phones, regardless of features, can SMS. Any phone that supports SMS (text messaging) can be used to send and receive emails through the safaricom gateway.
How to set-up sms to e-mail on your phone:
- Go to new message and type EMAIL ON. Send to 123
- Receive reply with your e-mail address based on your number e.g firstname.lastname@example.org
- To personalize your e-mail address e.g. email@example.com, send the words ‘ADDRESS JOHNDOE’ to 123
- To send an e-mail, type the recipient’s e-mail address followed by your message. Leave a space between the address and your message. SEND TO 123
- To read an e-mail. You will receive an SMS notification when you have an e-mail. To read your first message, type READ 1. To read your second message type READ 2 etc. and send to 123. The message will inform you of how many SMS’s it will take to read each message.
COST: Sending an sms to 123 is charged at 7/- per sms, sms length is 160 characters. Receiving an sms from 123 is free
Summary: To use sms2email, text to shortcode 123 and type the email address you want to sent your message to at the start of your message. Follow that address with a space and your text.
You can also use full-featured Gmail via Safaricom. They’ll set you up with an inbox.
Safaricom Email via Gmail:
Safaricom and Google bring you firstname.lastname@example.org, a free personal email service.
All Safaricom customers can get their own personal email address from Safaricom free of charge! This service gives you 6 Giga Bytes (GB) of storage space, calendar facility and many more.
Safaricom Email is an email service offered by Safaricom Ltd. in conjunction with Google.
You can access your Safaricom email account via any web browser and also set up a POP/IMAP email account and thus avoid the costs of having to subscribe to an ISP for purposes of receiving emails.
You can personalize this address to email@example.com for FREE giving you an even more exciting Safaricom Email experience.
2. Setting up “blog by email” on your WordPress blog
The official directions are on WordPress.com. To post by email, you need to:
- Create a dedicated e-mail account:
- Login to your wordpress blog
- Go to Dashboard
- Click “My Blogs” under Dashboard
- Click the button to setup your secret email address.
- It will generate something like firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write your email address. This is what you put in the start of every sms2email message.
- Use sms2email from Safaricom to deliver the message
3. Connect your WordPress blog to Facebook and Twitter
- Login to your wordpress blog
- Go to Dashboard.
- Go to Settings (the last heading on the right)
- Click on Sharing under Settings
- Enter your login information for both Facebook and Twitter here.
You are done! Every time you post to your blog, it will post a link to that blog on Twitter along with the title. Facebook will post the title of your new post and the first 2 sentences, along with the link.
4. Using Facebook’s post by email settings
This is copied from Facebook Mobile’s directions:
- If you are already logged in to Facebook, and you direct your browser to http://www.facebook.com/mobile/ You will see your secret email address. Write this down and use it in the start of your sms2email messages to deliver a text SMS to Facebook. It will be something like email@example.com. If you prefer, you can click the Send my upload email to me now link below your listed email address, and it will send you a copy to your regular email account.
That’s it. There are many ways to avoid using internet in Kenya while still creating social content.
Also check out: Kenya Internet Service Providers – who to trust?