It's rare to see a press release and wonder whether someone has elaborately replicated a news service website in order to make a joke, but that was my first thought on seeing Celery's recent announcement. The company offers a service that gathers up Twitter messages, Facebook updates and emails, and faxes them out; the recipient can then handwrite a response and fax it back, to be subscribed and tweeted back.
Now I can understand how emailing this way might be useful. Celery's service certainly makes it straightforward: a pre-established address-book means all you need to send a message is to write "Dear ..." in the top two inches of the page and fax it to their number. Tweets, though, and Facebook updates seem far more ephemeral, and that's before you get started on actually sending them out via fax.
If you don't already have a fax machine, Celery will send you a "customized" Lexmark X5070 for $119. After that, the color service is $13.98 a month (or $139 a year) or the black & white service is $8.98 a month (or $89 a year); that gets you 100 pages-worth of news. Twitter functionality will be added in June 2009.
Even Grandma Is Twittering Now ... Using a Pen and Paper
TROY, N.Y., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- There are a dizzying array of options to stay connected: email, Facebook, and Twitter just to name a few. All this communication still often leaves out one very important person ... your not so tech-savvy mother. But, no longer, using pen, paper and fax machine, Celery allows anyone to both send and receive email, receive Facebook updates and in June 2009, Twitter.
Carol is a 70 year old grandmother with family living all over the world. Time differences make it difficult for Carol and her family to speak over the phone, but Celery allows her to stay connected. Her daughter sends her recipes via email from Italy and Carol writes back, reviewing each one. Her son is stationed in Iraq and emails weekly to update her of his adventures and, most importantly, his safety. Carol does this without the hassle of a computer or Internet connection.
Carol looks forward to receiving her grandchildren's Twitter updates. And, if she cares to, she can set up her own Twitter feed too. Celery makes it possible for Carol to be included in her family's computer-savvy lives.
"I never nag my kids to 'call your mother' anymore, because I hear from them all the time," Carol says.
Celery acts as a go-between for tech-savvy users and the pen-and-paper generation. Celery collects email, Facebook updates, Tweets, and other feeds and faxes them to the Celery client. The client replies by handwriting out a message and including an email address, or now a Twitter post, at the top of the page. They then fax the message to their dedicated Celery number. Celery converts the faxed page into an email or Tweet and sends it on.
"Our mission is to bridge the technology gap and allow every age group to communicate on any electronic platform using a method they are comfortable with even if they prefer using a pen-and-paper," said Neil Grabowsky, Founder and CEO of Celery, LLC. "We have been tracking the growth of Twitter, and believe our customers would benefit from being able to use Twitter in addition to email."