I’ve used Twitter for quite some time now and find it to be very useful. That wasn’t always the case though. The first time I went to Twitter.com, I was prompted with “What are you doing now?” and was asked to enter it using 140 characters or less. It didn’t really make sense. Why would I want to type in what I was doing, at that time, for thousands of people on Twitter to see in the main timeline? I’ve seen people post things about going to the movies, getting ready for work, drinking their morning coffee, and other tasks that we complete on a daily basis. Why was I going to join Twitter?

I decided to join Twitter because I wanted to post things that I found interesting. Tech things. Geek stuff. Links to sites where I found useful articles about gadgets. People are following this Twitter timeline looking for something that may spark their interest. They may be wanting to keep in touch with people, but I was going to throw in my two cents worth about something that they may find useful.

It turns out that others felt the same way. I started to notice that the tech sites I followed also posted to Twitter… I started to follow them. Gaming magazines, developers, writers, large companies, and more were starting to post to Twitter. I also followed them. Major sites have “Follow us on Twitter” posted at the top of their homepage. Wow, I can follow them! Twitter was starting to explode. It was going into information overload. It was great! I could follow just about any company, site, or writer I wanted and if they linked to any further information, I could just click on the link and away I go. Messages were short and to the point. No need to weed through a lot of useless information. If I found that someone started to ramble a lot, I just removed them from my follow list. Twitter was providing me a way to follow only the information that I wanted and to post the stuff I found interesting… and at the same time, people started to follow me because of what I was posting.

Here is the Tweetie 2 twitter application running on the iPhone.

If you go to Twitter now, you will see the tagline, “Retweet to spread the word” or “What’s happening”. With the ability to use Twitter from just about any mobile device, people are able to spread the news as it happens. Take a quick picture and post it to Twitter with a few words. There are even sites that shorten URLs to other websites. This is done so you can post links to Twitter without using up your 140 character limit with just the URL. Most Twitter applications do this URL shortening in the background so you don’t have to think about it. You can use Twitter from the main website, from a client application that you run in Windows or Mac OSX, and even from your iPhone, Blackberry, or Android mobile device.

Twitter can be your social network to information. Not only can you use it to send messages, but you can reply to messages, forward (re-tweet) messages, and even send private (direct) messages to people. Use it how you want. You may still want to post that you are having your morning coffee, but to us info geeks, we can find better uses for Twitter. It can become our mini blog to the world… or just to our friends. That’s Twitter’s best kept secret.