Introducing MassText for Group Text Messaging at PyCon by Jon Sackett

While attending PyCon with his entire department, Jon Sackett discovered that there were some communication challenges with getting messages out to the entire group. Fortunately, Jon knew about Twilio and was able to solve this problem with Twilio SMS.

With MassText, Jon was able to send a message to single Twilio phone number which would in turn forward the message out to everyone on the team.

How MassText Works

From Jon’s blog, the basic process works like this:

  • An SMS is sent to a Twilio number.
  • Twilio sends a POST to the masstext view.
  • The masstext view:
    • pulls the other users in the list
    • creates a Twilio XML response containing the original sms message for each user.
    • Sends the response to Twilio
  • Twilio sends the defined SMS messages to all users.”

“I got the masstexter up and working Thursday night; we used it for all
of PyCon.
With ten people using it we had a really high response rate—people
generally got the message sent to them within seconds of someone
sending a message out.”

“The application turned out to very useful—we had planned on using a
chatroom on our company VPN for communication, but given some pretty
prevalent wifi issues we ended up falling back on the masstexter more
than I had planned.”

“Towards the end of the con, I threw in another modification, though we
never had too much need for it; if someone not in the masstext database
sends a message, it doesn’t pass that message on. I realized that if
someone got ahold of the twilio number, they could easily spam all of
us without any penalties, driving up the cost of the application and
irritating everyone. That change was pushed up to github.”

Learn About MassText

Grab the source code on Github, and read about the creation of MassText on Jon’s “Human Made” blog:

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