I like what Paul Bradshaw writes in general, and this compendium of the ways journalists can use twitter is one example
To others it’s a social networking tool for contacts and leads, a project management tool or a research tool for developing stories.
In other words it is what you make it – and the only way to figure it out is to start using it.
So, his list includes: Twitter to gather news. That works. Once you are on Twitter, you begin to follow people (and they begin to follow you.) You “hear” or actually read the twitters of those whom you follow. I got keyed into an earthquake in China (not the most recent and destructive one) via twitter. I followed the Bhutto assassination via a Pakistani dentist who twitters. I’ve suggested that someone covering the Rezsko trial in Chicago will break the news on the verdict using twitter. Now ever-tech Paul has located a couple of apps that you can use to figure out who is connected to and thus talking to who. Here is a list of those searching for connections tools: gridjit,see below, which creates a grid showing your twitter conversations called a “twitter view.” A couple of others are: quotably, twitterlocal which surprised me as I found that Chicago is in the top 10 cities for twitters. Who knew? Then there are twitter clients, because you don’t want to manage your twitter feeds in a browser window. The clients, such as twhirl and snitter are like badges that sit on the desktop and keep track of tweets from twitter, often signalling new txt messages with a sound. You can set up groups to twitter around a topic using hash tags or an app like crowdstatus.com. I hadn’t known that you could track your name on twitter by simply sending the word “track” followed by your username to twitter. And he goes on from there. I like twitter and find it useful, but perhaps it isn’t the answer to every journalistic question.