There are times that I am too cheap for my own good. For the last four years or so, I have maintained a Google Voice account to that I could keep my puny texting account that only allowed 250 messages a month. I used the Google Voice account to be able to text an unlimited number of messages and a Google Chrome extension to be able to use my computer to type and read those messages. It worked, but many of my contacts were confused that they’d send messages to one number and I’d reply from a different number. Last month, I finally upgraded to a plan with unlimited messages (a side-effect of my wife getting an iPhone) and so I was finally ready to investigate some enhancements to “regular” texting.
The first app I downloaded to my Android phone was Handcent, from www.handcent.com. It’s a cross-platform (iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone) replacement for your phone’s built-in messaging app. On my phone, it adds pop-up messages, which I find useful. I can reply directly from the pop-up window, either by texting, or by using voice-to-text capabilities. There are a dizzying number of settings and things that can be configured, but the basic app just works, and you can add all sorts of additional features if that’s your thing. One part I haven’t used yet, but will in the future, is the ability to send directly to contact groups...like youth groups!
The other app that I’ve been using regularly is MightyText, from www.mightytext.net. It’s only available on Android, but I’m sure there are similar apps out there for the other smartphone operating systems. It lets me keep using my computer, via a webpage or a Gmail extension, to send and read my text messages. It also adds the ability to easily download MMS pictures and videos, so they aren’t trapped on the phone!
What tools do you use to enhance your texting abilities? I know there are many of them out there and it’s one of the best ways we have for staying in touch with our young phone toting parishioners, and their parents. I noticed a definite increase in participation when I started sending out reminder text messages prior to weekly events. There sure should be a way to automate that...
God’s blessings to you and your ministry!