Heyo! I'm Matt Brett, a freelance web designer living in beautiful BC, Canada. I specialize in WordPress development and generally making things that are awesome. When I'm not working, I'm playing video games, and I've published 133 game reviews over the past few years.

The Power of Twitter

I’ve seen a ton of chatter over the past few months about Twitter and the majority of it is of the WTF variety. Believe me, I was there too! For the longest time, I really didn’t see the point of getting updates as people go through their daily routines. But after much sitting a-top the fence, I jumped off and am now 484 updates strong. As much as it actually is neat following the lives of those that you may or may not know outside of the interslice, it has other advantages that just sort of… happen.

Last week a client of mine who runs a few large sites asked if there was a way to substitute WordPress email notifications for comments pending approval with a feed. A good idea, one that crossed my mind a couple times but I never pursued. A quick search returned some promising results, but no solution. But as you do with Twitter, I posted an update stating what I was up to. Soon after, Dean Robinson (who you might know for his WordPress theme, Redoable) posted an update of his own in reply to mine. A couple hours went by and Dean posted another update. And finally, by the end of the day, he released modMuch – a plugin that replaces comment moderation email notifications with a feed. :)

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, either. A few other instances of Twitter greatness that come to mind…

Surprisingly, Twitter has actually become some what of a news service for me as well. In more cases than not, I hear about “breaking news” and the latest happenings on Twitter first. Something else I didn’t expect when I signed-up.

So, for something that seems completely useless at first glance, it can really come through for you.

25 Comments

  1. I haven't quite got too confortable with Twitter myself yet. It seems like an awesome idea, but it just seems all so hard to submit stuff, and recieve them aswell.

  2. I wasn't sure about Twitter either when I first signed up, but I would say that its definitely more useful than I had expected.

    Hope that modMunch suits your needs and those of anyone else who doesn't really want dozens of moderation emails clogging their inbox.

  3. I love Twitter. While I was never on the WTF fence, I didn't get the point of it at first. I'm not sure I do even now, but I love it all the same. That said, I probably wouldn't bother with Twitter at all if it weren't for Twitterrific.

  4. Twitterific really kicked it off for me, without it I don't think I'd have jumped on it very quickly. Now that they have a mobile site I use it way more than I should.

  5. I didn't sign up to Twitter right away, I was a little late to the play – though I'm really pleased with the Twitter community now, I really enjoy how I can hear about things instantaneous. Twitter is more than a place to see what my friends are up to for me.

  6. @Garrett: Not sure I can agree with you there. You can post and receive updates from a browser, IM, on your cell (TXT), from multiple dashboard widgets and desktop clients. I use Twitterific myself and it updates automatically every 30 minutes (personal pref.).

    @Dean: Thanks again for rolling out modMunch so quickly. Giving it a test run on my blog before I roll it out for my clients.

    @Andrew: I don't have that many friends. I'm constantly purging as well. Not a fan of people that feel the need to update every 5 minutes or have IM conversations over Twitter.

  7. While Twitter is great, its only of any use if your a popular guy such as yourself! Say i post similar stuff on Twitter chances are no one will give two fucking shits. But good point none the less, im using it thesedays just for fun really.

  8. After being on the fence for a while, I recently jumped in. For the first few weeks I was rather impressed with everything, people were saying more usefull things than not.

    However, the last week of Twitter for me has left me unbelievably frustrated and wanted to through the damn application out of the window and straight to the oversized trash can logo. Cocky people, updates every few seconds, and other things of that nature are all leading reasons as to why.

    Instead I have narrowed my list to just people who say credible (or funny) things, such as yourself, Jeremy Boles, Kegan Jones, and Jeff Smith. This has seemed to help a bit.

  9. I've come across Twitter before, but not really used it because I didn't quite understand it.

    However, reading your post certainly shed some light on it's uses, and has spurred me into action & I've signed up.

    However, i use a windows machine, and i dont have such luxuries as twitterific, so all my twitters are done via the web.

    Seems pretty fun though! Don't know many people who use it though so i doubt my 'tweet's' will be read, but I've been reading yours, and several other top-class designers!

  10. For awhile I thought this whole "twitter" thing was really stupid and wasn't going to be a part of it… but your post brought up a lot of interesting benefits of it so I'm giving it a shot.

    However… is it common for twitter to have significant downtime as it has right now? I've seen that kitty with the screwdriver image waaayy too many times considering I've been using this for just barely a day…

  11. Pingback: The Debate Over Twitter | Design Adaptations

  12. @Jesse, I am in the EXACT same boat as you and I was on my way here to make a post about how ridiculously slow it's been the past day that I have been using it. I figured maybe I caught them at a bad time during heavy traffic or upgrades?

    Oh well, it's a fun way to keep people up to date…if I can remember to update it, ha.

  13. I suggest you have a look at Jaiko (jaiko.com) too. I like it even better than Twitter. It allows you to track different feeds of one users, for instance his del.icio.us bookmarks, his blog posts, his tweets, the songs he plays etc…

  14. I've found myself becoming more and more addicted to twitter. It's a nice way of seeing what people with similar interests are up to.

    The only downside is that if the other users don't have you as a friend then you can't join in with the fun. Like the other day Andy Clarke was doing a guessing game with fellow 'peers' like Hicks Design and Simplebits etc and I wanted to join in, but obviously couldn't.

    The works both positive and negative as whilst users feel left out due to 'eliteism' you also get to choose who you get feeds from.

    I also feel like a seedy stalker sometimes. Like I have you (Matt) as a friend but due to it being one way, as much as I like seeing what others are up to, it seems a little strange.

  15. I signed up for it a while ago (after discovering the link to it on this site…) and I still only updated it once. I better make some use of it along with some other things I signed up for and haven't used yet. :

  16. I just experienced this some days ago—posted a tweet where I reported a problem I had with some Ruby on Rails and boom, there was the solution.

    Great! The only thing that annoys me are people who use twitter instead of IM—resulting in endless discussions and a ton of txt messages on my mobile ;-)

  17. Oh, yes—these discussions aren’t only endless, they’re pointless for me as well. That makes it even more annoying ;-)

  18. I’m hooked on the twitter too. Took a bit to find the urge to tweet, but I’m over that now.
    The problem I found was getting other people hooked too.

  19. That's fab, I always thought twitter was just some other "teen" thing, man I sound old saying that!

    No but I never though it would amount to anything, just something else to mess about with.

    However, I can see its uses now, and it seems pretty great, I'll seriously ponder it on my companies blog.

    Some of those other plugings etc are blummin useful, you should attach a $$$ on them :)

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