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Twitter in Pakistan

twitter.pngThere are so many web products being launched on a daily basis that it becomes mind boggling to filter through the good and the bad. Twitter is most definitely not a new name to the internet and has literally captured the imagination of millions of mobile and internet users around the globe. Quite surprisingly it has some how not yet engulfed the SMS crazy Pakistani people.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is new social network that integrates mobile phones with the web. It is a way for keeping in touch with your friends no matter where you are or what you are doing, if you have a mobile phone you can update your current status by simply sending an SMS and literally all your friends will get updated with your message.

How can I Twit?

There are three ways you can send and receive Twit messages, the most exciting concept is through your cell phone, you can also choose to send and receive on Google Talk or even restrict your viewing pleasure to the website. All messages you send immediately appear on the website and a quick look will show you all the messages that have been sent and received.

Is it available in Pakistan?

Most definitely YES! I personally have been watching the the product for some time but would have to admit that somehow I kept assuming that this service was not available in Pakistan until a few days back I tested the registration system and was astonished to receive an almost instantaneous SMS activating my cell phone, since then I have throughly enjoyed receiving up-to-the minute breaking news and a lot many updates of my own choosing.

Why are you so excited about Twitter?

To appreciate the concept one must understand the system. Lets suppose I have a twitter account at http://twitter.com/drawab (which I do) attached to my profile 30-40 friends (which i don’t have yet) have voluntarily decided to follow all my updates. All along the day I could post any message, it could be a joke, it could be anything and literally everyone of my freinds would get the update. All I have to do is send one SMS to a specified UK number (costing me Rs. 1.50) which is the twitter SMS Gateway, instantaneoulsy the gateway updates my profile and also dispatches the update to all my friend all for FREE. I am sure you see the savings instantaneous. Simply said I am happy and I also have communcited with all my friends. The group message is such a tickling moment that a few of my freinds are bound to respond and hence we have ourselves a mobile based social network fully within our control. We can accept freinds and at the same time reject strangers.

Honestly one has to look beyond the savings and appreciate the technology twitter has to offer extending the interconnected world right into our palms.

Twitter Network is not limited to people chit chatting about everyday life, but blogs and news websites also use this to instantaneously spread their updates like BBC, CNN, FoxNews, Engadget, TechCrunch, lets not forget Teeth Maestro and Karachi Metroblogs to name a few.

The past few I have been susbcriber to a number of breaking news channels on twitter which has my cell phone buzzing off the hook with instantaneous updates of the world around me. If it get to your nerves you can choose to selectively turn each channel off and see it either on Google Talk or even limited to your web based twitter profile. Please do remember to key in your sleep timings otherwise you will have a twit filled night.

What concerns are there in Pakistan?

Taking a look at our greedy cell phone companies who have relentlessly continued to make a fortune off the consumers yet fail to provide decent service, I suspect they will react quickly and try to block these services lest they hinder the steady stream of revenue. Naturally if you are getting free alerts from Twitter on any issue of your choice then why will you subscribe to their subscription packages offering you horoscopes or even cricket messages (yes twitter also had a World Cup 2007 Twitter channel which was well updated till the final ball). The other drawback seen by the cell phone giants would be excessive incoming messages in exchange for one out going charge.

I would have to argue with these providers is for them to look at the greater concept if their consumers getting increasingly hooked onto any mobile based social network they will naturally tend to make millions while Twitter incurs the costs from its SMS Gateway in England.

Who looses out?

I suspect the information services companies that actually push these messages for a minor charge will be the big time losers, and I am not the least bit concerned as they have made millions already sucking on you phones (they will continue to make a lot from their ring tone collection)

Is there a real cost savings?

The cost savings will be a lot if you limit your usage to receive only news updates, but if you start to engage with the contagious social network then it might turn out to be expensive in the long run since the international SMS is priced higher then the usual, but I suspect many of us can easily become twitaholics, I probably already am.

What other utilities are there with Twitter?

The Twitter company has released it API for full integration and development with their system and a large number of designers have already made some interesting tools which can be discovered here in detail, but a few did spark my interest

  • Facebook to Twitter – Sadly there was none to merge the twitter messages to the Facebook update pages, (Designers: There is a need for a mashup between the facebook and Twitter API)
  • Twitterfeed – This application incorporate RSS feeds to be converted into Twits, I have created channels for my own blog Teeth Maestro and Karachi Metroblog hence getting you an immediate update (polled every thirty minutes) right on your cell phone
  • Twitterberry – An application designed for Blackberry’s

What if your Cell Phone does not work?

There is a probability that the mobile service provider is already blocking the Twitter UK number +447781488126 you can alternatively receive these updates via Google Talk or even via email but the easiest will naturally be the Twitter website itself.

What about Pakistani content?

I think there is a definite shortage of Pakistani content on Twitter and naturally no community from Pakistan but I expect it to grow exponentially, to create some interest I have created a few twitter accounts and have taken the liberty of creating a few local channels which can really prove handy for any mobile connected individual each has been associated with an RSS feeds from there respective sources

Teeth Maestro – http://twitter.com/teeth
Karachi Metroblog – http://twitter.com/KMB
Lahore Metroblog – http://twitter.com/LMB
Islamabad Metroblog – http://twitter.com/IMB
GeoNews – http://twitter.com/GeoNews
DawnNews – http://twitter.com/DawnNews
Jang – http://twitter.com/Jang

These following Twitters Channels are not yet associated with any feed but I hope to engage these feed to provide updated information on happenings in the city. Sending an email to the corresponding address will reach me and I will try to ensure that spam does not filter through this channel and is limited to the happenings of the city

Karachi – http://twitter.com/Karachi Karachi/bloggers.pk
Lahore – http://twitter.com/Lahore Lahore/bloggers.pk
Islamabad – http://twitter.com/Islamabad Islamabad/bloggers.pk
(replace the forward slash for the @ sign)

Or you may choose to Join my personal network at drawab – http://twitter.com/drawab

Lets see Pakistan dominate the twitter world


  • anony |

    a petition has been filed agst Justice Iftikhar’s notification as a judge by that mad man Moulvi Iqbal Haider.

    remember Justice Sajaad Ali Shah’s case?

  • nate |

    Hey, I might suggest you evangelize the usage of hashtags to your friends/family who are twittering about the Pakistan events. See http://factoryjoe.com/blog/2007/10/22/twitter-hashtags-for-emergency-coordination-and-disaster-relief/ for examples as to why and how, but the short of it is they help with creating context for things like this. They allow people (like some of my friends) to aggregate contexts and then publish one twitter feed which contains everyone’s tweets about the stuff happening.

    Could you please start adding #pkemergency (or something equivalent) to your twitters and ask your friends and other sources to do the same?

    (feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to talk about it more)


  • muchacho |

    Teeth Maestro,
    Have you been receiving Twitter updates on your phone? I haven’t been getting them since the last 2 days, even though my weekly limit hasn’t exhausted as of yet. Tried to add device again, got the access code, but still no luck.
    Best Regards.

  • Teeth Maestro |

    Muchacho – I have had the same problem since over 2 months.

    I have resorted to living with Gtalk on my Blackberry in conjunction Twitterberry as well

    Its frustrating but I’m ok with it. Seems tha Gtalk option is a little better

  • muchacho |

    Ah I see so it’s not only me.

    By reading this blogpost [1.5rps per txt] I figured that you were using ufone but after checking your comment I believe you’re using mobilink? as you say you’re using blackberry and ufone just launched their service just a month back. Sorry for assuming things!

    But I wish it worked, It was all good. I’m wondering if they blocked it or something, but that doesn’t make sense since I got the activation code follow up msg. Anyway, Cheers!

  • Teeth Maestro |

    LOL good analysis

    I moved to Mobilink becox of blackberry a year back and have been there – but contemplating the revert soon – dread the contact updates – will not go down the number portability alley as I hate those three loud bleeps for my friends and callers

  • Mutant |

    By the courtesy of this post, i was able to get about 100 twits a day but since twitter has applied the weekly limits i am not able to get a single twit on my ufone.I have also tried this on my warid and ufone no’s again but of no use.
    Can someone sort out my problem?

  • Omin Jaleel |

    Well I do not know how you were able to get SMS on cell

    This is what i get when i try and update the mobile info..

    "Note: We currently don't support sending SMS notifications to this number. You may still verify your phone and update Twitter, but we won't deliver to your phone."

  • Shehram |

    I tried alot but i couldn't connect to twitter via mobile device although i have been using twitter a long time

  • Maryam Piracha |

    There's a new application called mobi2weet that allows you to do the same thing, but it's Pakistan based and no, it's not iSMS. Last I heard, iSMS is still in closed beta. This new one (you can check it out at http://www.mobi2weet.com) allows you to send a message to a pre-existing number (I think they're going to have different numbers for different networks, or something), for registration and then once you get the message, it's pretty simple. You just start tweeting by replying to the message. I figured since you'd written about it, TM, you should know.

  • HussainGardezi |

    Yeah Twitter is very Cool Service, Have not tried yet to start from the cell phone but i will see this feature.

    I have my city named twitter.