400 Tweets Later, What Have I Learned?

I’ve just posted my 400th tweet, which is ironically a link to this blog entry. I’ve been using Twitter for about a year and a half, with my first tweet being:

Just joined twitter to see what all the fuss is about 5:18 PM Jul 20th, 2007 from web

A modest start I think you’ll agree. But now I’m on my 400th, I thought I’ll post a little post about what I’ve learned over that time, and why I’m addicted to it.

Now a quick caveat. I’m not a Twitter “power user” I follow about 200ish people and about 100ish people follow me which I’m more than fine with. I can’t imagine following thousands, or have thousands follow me and I don’t really want to. I don’t post that often, but I always have Twitter on in the background, both at work and home.

So here we go, and in no particular order:

1. Twitter is a great News Service.
I’m following a few news sites, plus a few people with their fingers on the pulse, and through Twitter I get to hear about the latest breaking news.

2. Twitter is great background noise.
I think I like using Twitter for the same reason I like having an IRC channel open for the particular framework I’m using at the time, or why I like having the radio on (especially the Cricket) in the background. It reminds me that other people are “out there” living their lives and getting about their daily business. It’s sort of comforting.

3. It’s great for keeping in touch.
I follow a few friends from real life(!!) on Twitter, and it’s really easy to pass on a quick “how’s things” which is all you really need to keep in touch

4. It’s less obtrusive than IM or Skype etc.
Basically it is much easier to ignore Twitter if you want to

5. Keep up with trends.
I don’t mean what which shoes are “to die for this season” or anything like that, but more abstract. As you may know I’m a programmer, who runs my own web development company, and I follow people in a similar situation. It’s good to hear their take on things, which way they think the land lies, what they are up to. “Trends” I think is the marketing name for it.

7. Get inspired.
Related to the above as it follows along the same lines. Twitter allows you a bite sized view in to peoples lives to see what they are up to. Some of the people I’m following are doing some really good stuff, and it inspires me to do more myself.