SMS messaging, or text messaging, works with most mobile phone carriers and allows you to use your e-mail to compose one message and send the message as text message to several people at once. There is no cost to send a message by e-mail, but text messaging rates may apply for those receiving the text message.
How to Format an SMS Message Address for E-mail
To create an e-mail list, you will need know each person’s cell phone provider and cell phone number, including the country code (if necessary) and operator or area code. As you collect the numbers, tell the people what you plan to use their numbers for. Be sure to ask if their provider plan includes text messaging, or if they want to receive text messages; if they don’t, find another way to send them the information.
The format of the SMS address (to send a SMS via e-mail) is different for each mobile service provider. You can find the service provider SMS address from the mobile service provider or search online for a provider’s address for services in your area.
The general format of an SMS address looks like this:
phone number @ carrier extension.com.
SMS Addresses for Some Different Carriers Worldwide:
MTN (South Africa)—email@example.com
Orange Polska (Poland)—firstname.lastname@example.org
Airtel (India) –email@example.com
Once you’ve formatted the SMS addresses, put them in the e-mail’s “To…” field, just as you would with a normal e-mail address.
SMS Messaging Etiquette
Like e-mailing, texting can be a wonderful way to communicate and build relationships. However, text messaging can cause poor communication skills and should not replace face-to-face communication. You should be aware of some SMS messaging etiquette:
- Keep text messages short, approximately 160 characters, or the full message may not send.
- Be respectful of those who ask to not be notified of events via text message.
- Do not blast people with too many messages.
- Do not click “forward to all” on personal conversations.
- For event reminders, send e-mails a week in advance and text messages 6 to 12 hours in advance.
There are many ways Church leaders and teachers can use SMS messaging. If you feel that SMS messaging would be a good way to communicate in your ward, talk to your leaders and decide on the best plan for gathering member’s information.