Last year, I posted questioning Twitter's usefulness, but since then I've had a change of heart.
At the behest of my little sister, I joined Twitter in June 2010 pretty much because a) she asked me to and b) I was curious about the service. I figured I wouldn't tweet much, but it'd be fun to follow people to see what they had to say. As it turns out, I quickly came to realize that Twitter is quite useful. I've found it to be a great way to stay on top of the news and keep track of my favorite tech bloggers and journalists.
As of today, I've tweeted only 90 times, follow 34 people, and have 4 followers. Power user I most definitely am not. For me, the experience isn't about sharing the minutia of my life with the world; rather, it's about staying in touch. Twitter serves a very distinct purpose for me: it's all about consumption. And I'm okay with that. I'm perfectly content in my (very) little corner of the Twitterverse. Lately, though, I've been thinking about taking my account public, although I'm hard-pressed to find any legitimate reason(s) to do so. I tweet so infrequently -- most of them are links to this blog -- that it probably wouldn't be worthwhile. Then again, the narcissistic side of me is tempted by the theoretical follower boon. Not to mention that this guy has some valid points for not using a protected account.
I think the best part about Twitter is it gives me an excuse to use Tweetbot. It's such a great fucking app. I've tried a few other Twitter clients in the App Store and Tweetbot is, by far, my favorite. And I'm not ashamed to admit I love it mainly because it's so damn beautiful. Sometimes I launch it not to check in on my timeline, but just to admire its beauty and play around with the (non-standard) controls. You can tell Tapbots (the developer) puts lots of love into every pixel of this app. Absolutely a shining example of innovative, attractive UI design. It's my favorite app on my iPhone and more than worth the $2 price tag. Thanks a million, John Gruber. (Okay, I really need to stop pointing to that review.)
Note to Tapbots: Get working on an iPad version, stat!
So yes...Twitter has actually turned out to be a positive thing. I think the key is in learning how to use Twitter effectively to suit your needs. Don't just join because it's the "cool" thing to do -- figure out what you want out of it. And then read this and this. There's some really great advice in those pieces.
Now all I need to do is learn how to get more mileage out of Instapaper.