I'd originally started looking at whether it was possible to be alerted by one of the big Twitter clients (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Tweetbot). I looked into it and discovered that Tweetdeck originally offered this service but it had been removed (or at least it's been removed from the iPhone app). I've registered with them for it to be added to future upgrades so if anyone would like to see this too then get in touch and I can send you a link so that you can also register your interest.
Then just yesterday one of the rbnUK followers, Londonbirder69 tweeted that he'd found a site for Twitter alerts! The site is called ifttt.com and basically you create a search and when that search is found an alert is sent either by email or SMS. There are various other functions to be played around with but for us those are the most interesting.
Below is a screenshot of setting up an email alert to be sent to my phone when the hashtag #rbnMEGA is used.
|Screenshot of setting things up|
With this set up the next thing to do was give it a test, send a tweet and include the hashtag.
|Sending the tweet|
Once the tweet was sent it was just a matter of sitting back and waiting for the email to arrive.
|The email alert|
The email alerts seem to take up to a maximum of 30 minutes but are generally much quicker. I've no idea how long it takes for an alert to be sent out from one of the paid services, but this is a completely free bird alert service!
So if you want alerting the next time we tweet #rbnMEGA or one (or more) of your local area hashtag codes get over to ifttt.com and register for an account. It's pretty straightforward to set things up and should only take a few minutes.
I understand that SMS messages are charged for at your providers basic rate, though I have not yet tried the SMS service myself so cannot confirm it.
At some point in the future the plan is to have an all singing and dancing Rare Bird Network app, but as everything is self funded at the moment this may take a while to reach fruition. So until that day this is a fantastic work around.
I'd really like to thank Londonbirder69 for getting me on to this, without their input it would undoubtedly have taken much longer for a decent alert service to be set-up. If anyone else has any other suggestions or comments on ways of receiving phone alerts please get in touch.
UPDATE: Unfortunately Twitter have recently changed the way that third parties can use their information. This means that (for the present time at least) IFTTT can no longer provide hashtag alerts. Please click on this link for alternative methods of getting alerts sent to your phone.