Twitter: Who To Follow

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Twitter has been the talk of the Internet recently but it seems that many people are quick to write it off as a fad and fail to realize its potential: to be the go-to place for breaking news. That’s not to say it will ever reach that potential, certainly there are obstacles in the way such as how well the site can scale as it grows (it seems to be having some growing problems recently) and finding a balance between mundane updates (I just ate a great apple!) and breaking news (Earthquake in San Fran!!!).
While the mundane can be interesting/humorous and may be important to true friends, the breaking news is where the power of Twitter lies. A couple of weeks ago many were privy to learn about the earthquake in the Bay Area and the Scooter Libby guilty verdict from various people on Twitter before many media outlets had picked up on the stories. Earlier this week I learned of both the OS X 10.4.9 update and the release of Flickr Collections via Twitter…well before those stories broke on my RSS reader.
The power of Twitter lies in its brevity and its speed. Bloggers no longer have to pull out their computers to write and publish posts, they can send a single sentence via text message or IM and share news with hundreds if not thousands of people within seconds.

As it stands right now without sort, search, or frontpage features, the best way to utilize Twitter is to have the right friends. The big boys, CNN, The New York Times, are all joining, but those are simply RSS feeds being fed to Twitter. The real meat lies in the Bloggers who have worked Twitter into their daily routine and write Tweets (that’s the name for a Twitter blurb) more often then they blog.
Here’s a list of some users to befriend to get you started beyond the mundane (though they do that as well).
John Edwards (yes, it’s him…or at least someone affiliated with his campaign)
HenryRollins (doesn’t post that often, but humorous and poignant when he does)
State of Twitter (a couple of guys behind Twitter itself):
A mad rush of fake and humorous accounts (Borat, Steve Jobs, Condoleezza Rice, Darth Vader, Indiana Jones) have also started popping up if you’re into that kind of thing.
Please feel free to add me as a friend as well…though I’m admittedly pretty mundane at the moment.
Anyone else know of some solid Twitter friends? Leave them in the comments.

I like to think of Twitter as a kind of massively-multiplayer IM chat. On one hand it’s kind of annoying if someone is only talking to one person in a tweet (marked by the @_____ prefix) but on the other hand it’s kind of interesting and definitely voyeuristic…especially if you know both parties.
If Twitter can create options for separating friends from contacts and/or the mundane updates from the news updates, they will have a true goldmine on their hands. Blogs, RSS feeds, and social news sites like Digg simply cannot match their speed, especially when you add text messaging into the equation.
With Twitter it’s all about keeping your friends close, but your breakers-of-news closer.

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  • Steve Wozniak used to have a Twitter account, but it seems to have dissapeared. 🙁

  • Thanks for the great article! I recently started using Twitter and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. I befriended a number of you suggestions, but the Henry Rollins account seems to be a fake. Or, at least, a fan of Rollins’ work. It seems like all of his “twits” are just quotes from Rollins’ books and spoken word performances.

  • @Brian
    Glad you enjoyed the article! You could very well be right about Rollins, I included him as my celebrity because he was the only one that at first glance didn’t appear to be an obvious fake and quite a few others had added him. Perhaps I was duped though.

  • That account wasn’t his. [Proof: isn’t his site, is.] He’d update a few times a day, but when I went looking for the link to his profile it seems to have dissapeared off the site. It’s a shame, really.

  • Thanks for the info Andre. Yeah it would be great if the real Woz was giving regular updates.

  • whoa, are you the guy that runs review in haiku?
    i’ve been reading reviewinhaiku AND pronet for a long time. awesome to see that you’ve joined!

  • I am in fact the same guy, Sean. Thanks for reading both!

  • Thanks for the inspirational update. I’m about to check it out now. Cheers, Tj.

  • if i had one of the cool twitter plug-ins, I could probably really “get-meta” and simultaneously post that im commenting on your first blog post for

  • I am dismayed to read that you consider your Dark Lord a “fake” celebrity. The entire Empire was watching weekly episodes of “Bringing Up Vader” long before any of you were even out of diapers.

  • @TJ, cool see you there.
    @Spinchange, good thought, I like where you’re going there.
    @Darth Vader, sorry didn’t mean any disrespect. If it’s any consolation I meant you as one of the humorous ones, but that’s probably still disrespectful to a man of your lofty status. I’ll just say that you rule and everyone add Darth Vader on Twitter.

  • nice article…I only keep a few key players in my twitter otherwise it’s just a mess and was surprised you were not there…you are now.

  • Thanks Paul. Your method is a good one for sure…at least until Twitter gets some kind of mundane filter going…