Using Twilio To Text Myself After Long Running Jobs

By Rich

September 11, 2019

Update: I’ve written a small package containing (1) the function below, and (2) another function that configures and saves your twilio credentials. You can view the package here on Github, and install it via:


First and foremost, tremendous credit is due to Sean Kross for the awesome twilio R package.

I was running a pretty long geocoding job, and I ended up throwing a beepr::beep() into the console just so I would get a notification when the job completed.

But the beep alerts me over the computer, so I was tied to it… darn.

Then I thought about how nice it would be to go on a walk outside, get some lunch, grab coffee with a colleague, or even go to the gym, but be notified while I’m away from the computer.

If only I could get a text message when the job was done. That would be cool.

So while my job was running (it still is)… I wrote this little script that I can stick in my .RProfile that loads a function textme(). The function has one purpose: text me at my phone number when my job is done running. Beauty.

Here’s the function

You’ll need to sign up for a free Twilio account.

# the following is no more than Sean Kross' example wrapped in a function
textme <- function(){
  # First you need to set up your accound SID and token as environmental variables
  Sys.setenv(TWILIO_SID = "SID_goes_here")
  Sys.setenv(TWILIO_TOKEN = "secret_key_goes_here")
  # Then we're just going to store the numbers in some variables
  my_phone_number <- "your_phone_number_here"
  twilios_phone_number <- "your_twilio_phone_number_here"
  # Now we can send away!
  twilio::tw_send_message(from = twilios_phone_number, 
                          to = my_phone_number, 
                          body = "👋 Rejoice! The dark deed you have requested has been done. 🎉")

Edit your .Rprofile, paste the function above, and save.

if(!file.exists("~/.Rprofile")) # only create if not already there
    file.create("~/.Rprofile")  # (don't overwrite it)

Now if start a fresh RStudio session, all you need to do is add textme() to the end of a long-running process, and you’ll get a text!

Since my job is STILL running, I’m going to go for a walk and breathe some fresh air – but not before asking my computer to alert me once it’s done working.

Posted on:
September 11, 2019
2 minute read, 372 words
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