I recently got an iPhone 4S, and as soon as I turned it on, the first thing I did was figure out all the awesome ways I could use Siri. While the built-in uses like setting alarms, getting directions, and finding food are super useful, of course my next mission was to figure out ways to make it do things it wasn’t originally designed to do. Telling Siri to “update my Facebook” or “send a tweet” just got me the classic “I’m not sure what you’re asking,” or “I can’t send Tweets for you” answer, but I knew there had to be a way to do it.
After some research and trial and error, I finally figured it out. While, at least for now, there’s not a way to natively integrate Siri and your social media accounts, you can use one of the things Siri can do — texting — to implement a workaround that allows you to use your digital assistant to send social media updates. Here’s how to do it with both Twitter and Facebook. You’re free to use one or both of these, depending on which services you use most.
Update Your Twitter with Siri
Twitter is the easiest to set up. First, log into your Twitter account on a desktop browser. From there, go to your account settings page and click the Mobile tab. What we’re doing here is setting up your Twitter account to accept text messages from your mobile number that it will then turn into tweets. Type your iPhone’s number into the Phone Number box and then click the Go button. Next, open up the Messages app on your phone and text the word GO to 40404 to confirm that the phone number is yours.
Once Twitter gets your message, you’ll be all set to post to Twitter from your phone via text messages. The next step is to add Twitter to your address box so you can use Siri to send texts to Twitter. Go to your Contacts app and add a new contact. Call it “Twitter” and, in the phone number field, put 40404.
From there, you should be all set, so try sending a test message. Pull up Siri by holding down your home button, and say “Text Twitter and say Tweeting from Siri.” Siri should understand that you want to send a text to Twitter, and show your message, as seen in the image to the right here. Have Siri send the message, and make sure it gets posted to your Twitter profile after that (you can always delete the text later on).
That’s all you have to do! Now you can use Siri to send tweets. There are also other things you can do using Twitter texts, and of course all of these will work with this Siri method as well. Here’s a list of mobile Twitter commands that you can use. (Remember, just tell Siri to “text Twitter and say…” followed by whatever you’d like to do.)
- 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.
So, for example, if you wanted to use Siri to follow me, @angelo_carosio, you would pull up Siri and say “Send a text to Twitter and say follow angelo underscore carosio,” and you’d be following me the next time you checked your Twitter stream. It’s that easy!
Update your Facebook with Siri
The process to update your Facebook with Siri is similar, in that you use text messages to do it. First, we’ll want to add Facebook to your contacts, so open the Contacts app on your iPhone and add a new contact called Facebook. In the phone number field, put in 32665.
Next, open your Messages app and text the word “Hello” to the Facebook contact you just made. Within a few minutes, you’ll get a message back from Facebook with a confirmation code and a link inside. All you need to do is tap the link in the message, which will open it in Mobile Safari. Follow the steps on Facebook to confirm your mobile number, and you’ll be all set with setting up mobile updates.
Once you have confirmed your mobile number, you’ll be able to update your Facebook in the same way you updated your Twitter in step 1: Just pull up Siri and say “text Facebook and say” followed by whatever you want the status update to be. Siri should write the text for you and send it, and it will be on your Facebook account instantly! The only thing it’s missing is that it says it’s posted by text, rather than “posted by Siri,” which would be pretty cool, if you ask me.
Over all, Siri is an extremely useful tool, but it does have its limitations in places. While a native way to update your Twitter or Facebook (especially Twitter, which is integrated in iOS 5) would be nice, Siri is still in beta and has a long way to go before it can do everything that we want it to do. It’s hoped that, with these workarounds, people will be able to make their Siri do a little bit more, and Apple will catch on soon that Siri should be able to send social updates in addition to all the other fantastic things it does for you.
Does anyone else have hacks and workarounds to make Siri do things it’s not originally intended to? Share them in the comments.