Many people have asked me what's the point of using Twitter - the service that lets you send out short (no more than 140 characters) messages about whatever it is you want to let people know about - what you're doing, reading, listening to; where you're going or where you are; or what you're thinking about. The Twitter FAQ page has a good overview of how the service works.
I've been using Twitter with some frequency - mostly when I'm traveling and have my blackberry at the ready - and have my blog set up so you can see my 'tweets' (twitter posts) on the blog's home page.
I've come across several cool Twitter applications in the past day or two that I thought would be interesting to those who wonder what Twitter is all about.
On Buzz Machine, Jeff Jarvis posts today about various ways Twitter is being used. One very cool application is called twistori; Jarvis says: "It simply pulls out the tweets that have the words love, hate, think, believe, feel, and wish in them. It’s oddly compelling." Jarvis' post also mentions that news organizations such as Reuters are starting to search for certain terms on twitter (e.g. explosion) as a way of identifying citizen-sourced news stories.
A colleague at work pointed me to a web site called Book Glutton, which is a startup focused on combining online reading with the social tools of the web as a way to enable conversations to take place around books that people are reading. Book Glutton uses Twitter to 'broadcast' what's happening among people reading on the site; on Book Glutton's Twitter page you can see that I (aweber9) opened a copy of King Lear at around 10:15. In theory I could go through the list of tweets and use it to connect with other people who are reading King Lear and might want to discuss it. There's not a lot of content on the Book Glutton site at this point, but one can imagine how the social tools of the web could enable some great conversations to emerge around books.
Finally, I've become a fan of Tweetscan - a service which powers real time Twitter searches. If I want to check out what people are saying online about something, I can just search for that term in Tweetscan and see all the tweets people have posted on the topic in question - say American Idol or Obama or Hillary Clinton.
If you've come across other cool Twitter applications, please let me know!
EDITED: not long after writing this post, a colleague sent me this story about Twitter from abc.news com.