1. No phone numbers
Texting requires phone numbers. You need their number, and they need yours. Thankfully, Shormtail doesn’t work that way. With Shortmail, all either party needs is a Twitter username. And unlike Direct Messaging, you can send a Shortmail to someone who is not following you. You can think of Shortmail as DM done right!
2. A public address
To publish your texting-address is to publish your phone number. That’s a lot to ask.
Your Shortmail address is your Twitter username (@shortmail.com), which is already public. Many Shortmailers add their Shortmail addresses directly into their Twitter bios and replace their blogs’ Contact Me pages with a Shortmail Me widget.
3. A searchable archive
Mobile services often treat your texts as disposable. Not only is there a cap on how big your archive can be, but it’s difficult, if not impossible, to search. By contrast, Shortmail keeps your shortmails in a limitless, searchable archive at Shortmail.com.
4. Public conversations
You can’t text publicly. SMS simply doesn’t operate as a public platform. Shortmail, on the other hand, lets you hold a public conversation for the world and Web to view.
5. Open conversations
What we just said in #4, plus the ability to open up your public conversation for anyone on the Web to participate in. The forum-like atmosphere that a Shortmail open conversation provides is unheard of in the realm of SMS.
6. More asynchronous than SMS, more synchronous than email
Texting tends to imply urgency, while email tends to imply delay. Shortmail stands between these two extremes as a happy (messaging) medium. Use it as needed for real-time messaging or for longer-term interaction.
7. Better support for groups than SMS
Group texting is a pain. Holding group conversations in Shortmail, by contrast, is simple. When starting a new conversation, just enter multiple emails or Twitter usernames into the “To” field. All replies go to the group.
Texting costs money. You pay per message, or you pay for a usage plan. Either way, you pay. Shortmail, on the other hand, is free.
9. Email: the world’s largest messaging network
While the reach of SMS is great, the reach of email is even greater. Email is the world’s largest messaging network. You can send a shortmail to absolutely anyone with an email address.
10. An extra 340 characters
In the words of Shortmail user Dr.W:
Shortmail is the perfect SMS substitute. Instead of having a limit of 160 characters, you will instead be able to send longer messages, with a 500 character limit. And who wants to type more than 500 characters on a mobile phone?