Twitter; I think I finally get it

Like many of my friends I didn’t really know what to think of Twitter. I use IM clients, have a blog and have a facebook account which lets me update my status. I didn’t see any reason to sign-up for a program that would let people know what I was doing 24/7. However, when I finally signed up a week or two ago I found that the service had many more uses than the micro-blogging it is known for.

Of course, Ryan Sholin has been praising the alternate uses of Twitter for some time now, including but not limited to his tumblelog based approach to covering the Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz.

Another example is seen in Twitter’s potential to cover spot news, as seen when David Armano witnessed a teen save an elderly woman from being hit by an oncoming train. Armano posted updates of the events to his Twitter account immediately after it happened, long before either the Chicago Tribune or CNN posted their stories.

Prior to signing up, I already knew that you could text message or IM in both text and audio messages. After signing up I learned that you can also receive “tweets” and notifications to your IM or phone based on keywords you want to track. You can also follow specific twitter accounts, receiving updates on your phone or IM client whenever they post a new tweet. For example, I am following the LA Times fire coverage at and if I want to follow Greater Alarm fires I can subscribe to the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Twitter account. Other Twitter accounts I ran across include NPR, various sections of the NY Times have their own Twitter accounts, CNN, BBC, etc.

A fairly comprehensive list of news services that use twitter can be found on the Twitter pbwiki. Also, the Big Juicy Twitter Guide is a good place to learn more about Twitter features and the various things you can do with a Twitter account.

2 thoughts on “Twitter; I think I finally get it

  1. Signed up for Twitter a long time ago. Never really used it. Scared me to think of yet another networking outlet that I could get absorbed in.

    I am in this phase where I wonder if we focus too much attention into social networks, are we becoming less social on some level? I know this seems contradictory… But I think that if I put effort into all of the sites, blogs, and such that I am some how affiliated with, I would never get anything done.

    But then again, now a days, I shoot non-stop and never post anything anywhere…

    Where is that happy medium?

  2. I sometimes worry about getting lost in blogging or facebook, but then I don’t post for a month or don’t log in to facebook for a week.

    Twitter does not worry as much because I don’t plan on really using it. I just like its potential functionality for news organizations.

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