So, am I still getting benefit from my Twitter account I hear you ask?

There are a lot of conflicting views - dare I say that the older fraternity of journos find it ridiculous and say so loud and long, but the young, hip, open-minded folks (hello!) rather like it.

Well, I've grown to like it - putting me firmly between the above two camps as a sort of old hipster (or 'dad').

I actually find that those I follow fall into two distinct camps - commentators on IT who break new stories quickly, which I find useful and informative, and Twittertainers - those who post stuff that I just find amusing.

As an example of the latter, check out Graham Linehan's post from 10 August:

Glinner: Hey, guy, look out for that car! Wait, no, I shouldn't be using Twitter for this, I should say it out loud! Gahh! Too late!

In other words I've started to use Twitter as I already use RSS feeds and an aggregator - for work and leisure. Does that mean it will last? I'm not sure. Things in the 21st century still need to generate cash to survive and I'm not sure how Twitter can be 'monetised' to use a hideous neologism. Especially so as there are so many different ways of accessing Twitter through different mobile and browser apps, over which I wouldn't imagine the folks that run Twitter have much control.

Be interesting to see how it develops.

How are you using Twitter, gentle reader?

Comments (12)

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  • 1
    Alex R wrote on 10th Aug 2009

    I simply use twitter to follow as few people, that publish links that I may be interested in, and very occasionally send them a question via twitter.

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  • 2
    Brian's Web Developer Friend (@B0NE5) wrote on 10th Aug 2009

    I find it increasingly useful for news on work & leisure topics that interest me. News comes through much quicker than waiting for a full story. For example Jonathan Agnew (@aggerscricket) posts team news for the ashes & Apple (@applesupportdls) post information on software updates, while Bill Bailey (@realbillbailey) & David Mitchell (@realdmitchell) post enough humourous comments which brighten the day. Today I got a response to one of my tweets from Jonathan Agnew. True story.

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  • 3
    Andrew Carpenter (@azc) wrote on 10th Aug 2009

    I'm liking twitter a lot. Getting a personal reply from someone you admire is pretty awesome. In some ways it has replaced RSS feeds for some things, for example a comic author might tweet that their new strip is available some time before it appears through RSS. Some big news stories have broken through twitter, the death of Michael Jackson being one of them.

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  • 4
    Peter Leeson wrote on 10th Aug 2009

    I read your blog because of the link posted on Twitter. I must admit that I enjoy Twitter for the trivia and the amusing, I don't use it professionally.

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  • 5
    Kemi @shugyokem wrote on 13th Aug 2009

    I started using Twitter a month ago and I must say I find it a really quick way of getting the latest tech news, and links to great articles of interest to me on the web. I retweet to get news/factual/tech/#(campaign) stories out to other people and have linked it up to my Facebook status (which sometimes looks weird to those friends who don't understand somewhat terse Twitter parlance which accompanies a link!). I also follow some personal friends on it but tend to use Facebook/ email more for contacting them. The only minor downside to me is that some of the information tweeted is not geographically relevant where it needs to be (usually involving finance). I hope there will eventually be more intelligent filters for the streams of information it creates available. I follow it using Gravity on my Nokia and the Twitter website on the computer.

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  • 6
    Sue Black wrote on 14th Aug 2009

    Twitter and other social media have proved invaluable in my campaign to save Bletchley Park. See and follow @dr_black @bletchleypark and @stationx on Twitter. There is also a group on Linkedin and Facebook. Please join.

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  • 7
    Tweeter wrote on 14th Aug 2009

    Twitter was something I joined out of curiosity, and only really took to once I had found some interesting things to follow. Bands have been the main reason for my twitter-checking, as it's nice to get updates about new material and upcoming tours without having to go to all their websites separately. I also use it to keep up to date with news, and enjoy seeing new articles titles from New Scientist and other publications of interest. If I tweet it's usually in response to something I have read, although I only have 2 real "friends" on there that I follow (and one is my mum!!). It's a time-saving tool, and I've even used it to get a feel of potential employers to see what they tweet and if anything is tweeted about them!! And it amuses me that a good chunk of the population happily "tweet" - methinks maybe "bird flu" of a different kind got to us after all.....

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  • 8
    Stuart McLaughlin wrote on 14th Aug 2009

    I've been using Twitter for a while now and while initially I'll admit I didn't 'get it', I'm now finding it invaluable for finding out events / information at a local level as well as gaining more commentary on news and events (and discovering interesting people) - definitely as an aggregator as Brian said. I've read plenty of articles saying that Twitter is signalling the death of RSS (amongst other things), but I feel that they compliment each other very well. I use Google Reader to browse through a couple of hundred RSS feeds very quickly - this could not be done with Twitter, as there's no ability to view a summary of a post without opening it. I'm sure something else will come along to change things again (especially with Facebook's recent purchase of Friendfeed).

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  • 9
    David wrote on 14th Aug 2009

    I use it to follow mostly comedians who have something interesting or amusing to say. For reading I just use the rss feed in google reader so it's integrated into my daily digest of blogs. I rarely post - I can't believe anyone would really be interested in knowing I'm buying a sandwich or catching a train :)

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  • 10
    David Barber wrote on 24th Aug 2009

    ... best bit at the moment is the that tweets get SMS'ed to my mobile (free on 02 & Vodafone) and being in Media the Breaking News tweets are excellent

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  • 11
    Fadil wrote on 28th Aug 2009

    I run two twitter accounts - a personal one (@fadilfr) and one for the work related stuff. Why do I need it - because I get to read about others' information. And I can send and receive instant microinformation to my social group. I believe the pervasiveness of Twitter lies in the fact that it's ubiquitous. Don't you agree?

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  • 12
    Andy L wrote on 28th Aug 2009

    Haven't yet tried Twitter but am firmly with those saying it's a tool with its uses, serious and frivolous. It was very interesting recently to hear that it was so useful to Iranians subjected to censorship in other media ....

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About the author

Brian is Head of Content at BCS and blogs about the Institute’s role in making IT good for society, historical developments in computing, the implications of CS research and more.

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