When I had a look at the ubuntu-uk planet this morning, I noticed this post by Alan Lord.  The question he asked is 'why tweet?'

I started using twitter a few months back when it first entered my 'online sphere of influence.'  A few of the people I talk to on IRC were using it and with me being the inquisitive type, thought I'd give it a try.

Now the one thing which is constantly used to sterotype twitterers is the tweeting of banal facts. i.e:

Just woken up, now pouring myself a bowl of country crisp.

Now sure, that's not the most exciting of tweets, but one of the most exciting parts of twitter for me is the dynamicity of it.  Everyone can use if for what they want.  When I started 'tweeting,' I used it mainly to link my blog to a new audience - and get realtime feedback from people.  For some people that works (i.e. those with interesting blogs), for me it didn't.

However, recently I've started using twitter more (not just since @Wossy said a few nice works about it on #FNWJR), to keep up to date with what people are doing.. and to evesdrop on conversations between journalists.  I used to drop Rory Cellan-Jones the odd Facebook Message (to which he'd almost always reply) - but now I can follow the lifetimes of his stories on twitter(@ruskin147), see live twitpics (photosite linked to twitter 'tweets'), and hear what other journalists have to say on the topic.

There's another side to twitter too - think of it as an 'amateur newswire'.  It's a bit mroe special than lazyweb, as there are often people on the ground breaking the stories.  A couple of weeks ago, @commanderspike took some photos of a fire in Manchester City Centre - twitpic'd them, and they were used on BBC Website and on BBC Local Evening News.  This morning too, I heard about Bond Street, in kemptown being cordoned off.. why?  A tractors had fallen off a flat bed lorry, courtesy of @doctorpod.

The other thing that inspired me about twitter, is that it's evolving.  If you prefix a topic with a #, then it is identified as a topic which others can tweet about and discuss.  Have a look at http://search.twitter.com to see the way in which trend pass up and down.  There are also a number of sites which plot the trends, show mentions per hour and graph them all nicely.

However, there's also identi.ca, which provides pretty much the same thing.  One thing they've added is groups.. whereby prefixing a group name with a ! allows you to post to that groups feed.  The difference being that only pre-registered members' tweets are added to the group feed.  They're all interesting ideas attempting to get value out of the microblog.

My favourite twitter experience so far came on Monday.. I was travelling to and from the Datacentre, listening to key103 Manchester on the Radio.. and Shakira came on.. with the presented letting Manchester know that it was in fact Shakira's birthday.  Go Shakira!  Later on that afternoon, Andi Peters tweeted about taking song requests for 'Heat Radio' via twitter.  I requested 'Drive' by The Cars, but soon realised (after tuning into the station) it probably wasn't a likely candidate giving their style of music.  Then Shakira came on, so I let @xxandip know it was her birthday.. and that tweet was then used in the link before the next song. (He even pronounced my name correctly.. phonetically spelt nickname rules!)

So yeah - that's twitter for me.