How-To Use Siri (or Dictation) to Speak Your Tweets

| How-To

One of the very few complaints we saw over the weekend regarding Siri was the inability to use Apple’s new (and awesome) voice control and interaction technology to tweet. It turns out, however, that there is a way to use Siri to tweet, as noted by the folks at BufferApp.com. Even if you don’t want to set it up, however, iPhone 4S owners can always use the Dictation feature enabled in Twitter’s iPhone client to speak your tweets directly.

First, let’s look at how you can set Siri up to handle your tweets, because, really, Siri should handle everything in your digital life, right? The secret to making this possible is to configure your Twitter account to allow you to tweet via SMS text message.

To do so, go to Twitter.com, log in to your account, go to Settings, and click the Mobile tab, as seen in the figure below.

Set Up SMS Texting to Tweet at Twitter.com

Set Up SMS Texting to Tweet at Twitter.com

On this tab, you’ll fill in your phone number and choose your country. Once you’ve done so, you click the “Start” button (not shown in the screen shot).

That will take you to a page that looks something like the figure below where you can configure your options. For instance, if you want others to be able to find your Twitter account through your phone number, click away.

THe Important Bit

Get the Magic Phone Number from Twitter

The important bit, as highlighted in the image, is the phone number Twitter will give you. Once you have activated tweeting by text, any text you send to this phone number from your iPhone will be tweeted from your account.

Please note two things: The phone number will vary according to where you are, so make sure you pay attention to what Twitter actually tells you. The second thing is that you will not be able to use this feature until you go through this process on Twitter’s site.

Once you have set it up, you’re almost ready to go. Set up a contact in your Address Book with the phone number you were given. Make sure you give this contact a unique name, because you’re going to use that name when tweeting from Siri.

Now, you may want to set up your contact name as “Twitter.” In fact, that’s what Adam Christianson did, as you can see in the figure below. His early testing found that this name worked just fine. The folks at BufferApp.com, however, noted that Siri didn’t like that name and would reject it.

If you have problems using the name “Twitter,” you can try BufferApp’s suggestion of “Mr. Bird,” but we think this would be a fine opportunity to use something like “Big Bird,” or maybe even “That awesome dude, Bryan.” It’s just a suggestion.

OK, once you have added your new contact with the Twitter-supplied phone number, you are now set. Open up Siri and tell her something like “Message Twitter,” or “Send text to Twitter” (fill in the name you used where appropriate, as in, “Send text to that awesome dude, Bryan”).

Siri will then ask you what message you want to send, parse that message in written form, and ask you to confirm it. In the message below, Adam did just that for our screenshot use.

Tweet!

Use Siri to Tweet

Tweeted!

Adam’s Sample Tweet!

You can also use Siri to text the following commands to Twitter, allowing you to follow/unfollow a user, toggle your Twitter notifications on and off, retweet a user’s most recent tweet, mark a user’s last tweet as a favorite, or to direct message a user.

  • FOLLOW username - Start following a user
  • UNFOLLOW username - Stop following a user
  • ON/OFF Turn all Tweet notifications on or off
  • ON/OFF username – Set Tweet notifications for a user on or off (you’ll still be following them even if you set it to off)
  • GET username – Shows you the latest tweet from any user
  • RETWEET username – Retweet a user’s latest tweet
  • FAVORITE username – Favorite a user’s latest tweet
  • DM username your – message - Send a direct message to a user

OK, all of that is super cool if you want to use Siri to control your outgoing tweets. Aside from the cool factor and the the ability to tweet through Siri completely hands free, it’s not possible to use Siri to manage all of your Twitter needs. For one thing, you can’t read the tweets of others, and there will be many times when you can’t speak a tweet in the first place.

That means you’re still going to want a Twitter client of some sort on your iPhone, and many of them have enabled the Dictation feature in iOS 5, including Twitter’s own client.

If you open up Twitter and start a new tweet, you can then tap the Dictation icon and dictate your tweet, as you can see in the figure below. The same thing will work in most Twitter clients that have been updated for IOS 5 on an iPhone 4S.

From there, speak your tweet, confirm it, and send it!

Tweet Using Dictation

Tweet Using Dictation

Ted Landau and Adam Christianson contributed to this article.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

2 Comments

Ion_Quest

Man’s most obnoxious invention—part 2.  First we had folks talking loudly in public to someone else via mobile phones. Now we get to hear folks talking loudly in public to themselves!  Progress?

Scott B in DC

And if you’re on a limited TXT plan ($5 for 200 texts), then you use up all of your texts this way!

Log-in to comment