Twilio SMS API Brings Light to Festivus and the SF Food Bank

DerryBirkett, December 17th, 2013

Twilio SMSHow much would you like to send $10,000 (that’s 10 big ones) to the San Francisco Food Bank for Festivus? I’m guessing you would love to, but how? Let’s talk about Twilio.

Twilio, the API of choice for connecting and using telecom technology, is lighting up the holiday season by tying its SMS API with a fun campaign for social good. I use “holiday season” deliberately, because this campaign is associated with Festivus—which is not Christmas, as any Seinfeld fan will attest.

Curious readers can investigate the history of Festivus if they so desire—the important point here is that Twilio is making it easy to donate to social causes rather than frantically ordering generally undesired paraphernalia for our close friends and family. Festivus is about giving, without expecting socks in return.

I digress. This article is not plugging Festivus, but a cool way to share some festive season love and joy while giving to good causes AND learning about a handy new API to boot: in short, a win-win-win situation.

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Twilio has $10 grand ready to send to the San Francisco food bank: It has set up the traditional Festivus pole and adorned it with lights; it has hooked up the pole to its Twilio SMS API and it has set up a 24-hour Dropcam to stand vigil so that YOU—yes, YOU—can watch with something close to glee, and possibly a sprinkling of wonder, as the Festivus pole lights up when you text it.  Not only does it light up, but it lights up in the color you text to it.

Got your phone handy?  Here’s how to send $10,000 to the San Francisco Food Bank and also see some pretty neat API magic in action (and some colored lights – a family favorite).

  1. Tune in to the Dropcam trained on the Festivus pole in Twilio’s offices here
  2. Text “RED,” “BLUE” or “GREEN” to 202-417-FEST(3378).
  3. Gaze in wonder at the magic of technology.  Yes, you made that pole dance with light, from your phone.  I know, it’s just magic (follow this link to see how it’s done).

So there you go. Food, entertainment and the warm feelings of doing good, courtesy of Twilio, and all for the measly cost of an SMS (which is probably free on your carrier).

Oh, by the way, Twilio sends $1 to SF Food Bank for every SMS you send to the pole—so please share this message with your 10,000 Facebook friends so we hit the max.  OK?

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