WHEN ASKED TO CITE the most essential thing about Twitter, I have to say it's the "sign out" link because my time on Twitter is inversely proportional to my productivity in creative multimedia. But when I see the crest-fallen faces of media virgins, I point out some other essential things you might garner from Twitter.
Lazyweb Assistance. If you have a posse of followers, it's possible to leverage Twitter as a simple place to ask short questions. I have helped some tourists visiting Ireland this way. However, I would never use Twitter as my first port of call when planning a short break because I want photographic evidence and that means heading into Flickr or Dopplr for those essential ingredients.
Playlist Enhancement. I like listening to music of people I like reading so when they offer tracks on Twitter, I let my earbuds divert my time and attention. I also know a loud-mouthed chorus of tweeple who view blipping tweets as absolute rubbish and that's the beauty of Twitter, innit? One man's single-word rubbish commentary (i.e., NN, laters, hiya) is another's bonding communications.
Pointage. I no longer have time to read my top newsfeeds if I permit my time to sink into the swamp of Twitter. Consequently, I force myself to read links to interesting material cross-posted into the Twitterverse by people whose judgment I trust. I pare back my flow of tweeple to trustworthy commentators whose message traffic does not dominate my twitter timeline.
Direct Messaging. Because my inbox still contains more than 40,000 unread items, those who know me have figured out that a direct message sent to me via Twitter lands on my mobile phone as a text message. D topgold message is often the fastest way to contact me because Twitter's direct messages circumvent my standard e-mail inbox by porting directly to my Nokia mail and then to my Nokia E90.
T-shirts and inside lingo. Some of the graphics surrounding Twitter have made interesting t-shirts for me and my creative multimedia students. Plus, you can supplement your vocabulary with all sorts of new words that make you sound like a real twit.
Oh, wait! That's a DM from Twitter buzzing on my phone. Laters!
Bernie Goldbach is deleting his tweets on a regular basis so as to remain closely enshrined at the 10,000 tweet mark. His daughter Mia recommended the screenshot shown above, snapped during Dave Delaney's fraught experience as a microblogger.