Much has been made of twitter as a tool for finding eyewitness accounts and tracking discussion of breaking news and yesterday's airplane crash in the Hudson River was just one of a growing number of instances – along with earthquakes, terrorist attacks, celebrity deaths, mass redundencies and Steve Jobs stepping down - where many people heard about it first on Twitter.
Six months ago, I started my day online with a visit to my RSS reader, during which I usually saved a few bookmarks on delicious. I'd then check facebook and twitter for messages from friends, colleagues and contacts.
Now that's all changed. I realised yesterday that I haven't looked at my RSS reader since Christmas or earlier, and that my number of delicious links has gone from maybe 10 a day to just a trickle. That's because I'm using twitter as a sort of human filtered RSS reader: most of the people I used to subscribe to I now follow and the people I follow tend to tweet about the best things they post or read. This means that, through twitter, I've probably increased the amount of discovery I do online – that is, stumbling across new sources of content rather than simply reading the same people saying the same things all the time. And instead of bookmarking to delicious, I've noticed that I'm now favouriting 5 – 10 tweets each day so that I can return to them later.
I found myself wondering if others are finding that they use twitter in the same way. The replies were split, with people following massive numbers on twitter (eg. 300+) tending to say yes, twitter is becoming just as important as RSS and delicious, or even supplanting them. But others disagree, generally saying that they do find good content via twitter, but this remains their secondary method of doing so. Here's the responses:
How do you use twitter? Is it as important as your RSS reader? Do you favourite tweets like you used to save bookmarks? Does following more people make you more likely to use twitter as a main source of links to new content? What's your view?