Twitter users: what do you use it for?

I got a Twitter account more than a year ago, just to reserve the username (in case Twitter became big and “everyone” was on it) but I have barely used it. I would like to use it more, if indeed it can be useful.

So, for people who use Twitter on a regular or semi-regular basis: how do you use it?
[li]What sorts of things do you tweet?[/li][li]If you have a Facebook account, what does Twitter provide, in terms of keeping your friends up-to-date, that Facebook doesn’t? [I have a Facebook account][/li][li]Do you use it as an extended IM session with multiple people? [/li][/ul]

Please, let’s not hear from people who don’t use it. If you don’t use Twitter and cannot fathom why anyone would use it, please reserve your comments for another thread.

Also, I understand that many people use Twitter to “follow” famous people or companies, and that is useful to know so please share with us, but I am primarily interested in people who post tweets.

I use Twitter mostly as a means of keeping up with a handful of friends, as well as a way to follow the news from both my hometown and the city I live in now.

When I tweet (which isn’t every day, but fairly often anyway), I usually go for a mix of random thoughts, replies to friends, photos, and links to interesting or weird articles. I particularly like being able to use it as a sort of extended IM thing since I never seem to be online at the same time as the friends I like to chat with, so using Twitter means we can both reply at our leisure.

In terms of how I use Twitter versus how I use Facebook, Twitter is more of a spontaneous sort of thing for me. My Facebook posts these days tend to be more intended for a wider audience – I’m in grad school in another country at the moment, so I use it both to keep my family & friends at home updated on my doings and to talk (or bitch mightily) with classmates here – and written accordingly while my Twitter posts feel more personal. This may be more because of who I’m tailoring my posts to on Twitter, though. I don’t think the two are really that interchangable for me, though.

Twitter is leaner than Facebook (which is coming in very handy now that Facebook has gone to shit the past month or two). No constant barrage of Farmville requests on Twitter.

Twitter’s simplicity is also beneficial for businesses too lazy or dumb to operate a proper website, much less something with an RSS feed.

News of all kinds breaks on Twitter, whether it be MLB trade rumors, incidents in Iran, or new beers being released.

Even celebrity stuff can be useful. Shaquille O’Neal has a Twitter, and when he’s on the road, he’ll post a vague description of where he’s eating lunch (or whatever)and the first person to find him gets a pair of tickets to that night’s game. Kurt Sutter twittered that Sons of Anarchy was renewed for a third season before any MSM or even blogs did.

Also good for getting real-time information quickly. McSweeny’s is releasing a one-off broadsheet in San Francisco today, and people have been Twittering its availability at different locations. Same with Life & Limb, a special-release beer that did not get a wide release. I could post “Hey, who has L&L in SF?” and all the beer bloggers, beer drinkers, and bars I’m connected with can not only answer my question but make the information known publically. Times like that, the difference between following a company and a person can get blurred.

There’s also #hashtags, which have many uses. You can almost jury-rig a chat room with them, like how during baseball season, a bunch of people watching the game will post thoughts or colorful swear words along with #sfgiants, so all us Giants fans can follow along together, much like people live-post in the 24 threads here.

A user can also create “lists,” which are basically a group of people. I made one called “sfbeer,” which consists of Bay Area beer bloggers, breweries, and bars, and if someone wanted to see what was going on beer-wise in San Francisco, I dare say they’d be on top of any developments using my list.

I use it as a delayed chat client for friends (I have about 5,000 tweets; probably 3,500 of them are comments to other people), and to follow my favorite musician. The same thing as Facebook, really, except it doesn’t bother me with annoying as hell application requests.

I use twitter as a news aggregator, and to follow local tweets such as if the traffic sucks, or the weather is bad, or a live concert or a politician or reporter locally is an idiot. I also follow genealogy related tweets, some sci-fi authors, and many local artists.

I’ve engaged in 140 char at a time “debates” over issues in the city, sent people links to local resources that they may like - eg.) health food stores, local venues, companies that may help them. For example yesterday I had a debate over “rebranding” my city and the cities history as a cowboy town, and also talked with a local reporter who was seeking info for an article on working as a Santa/Elf for Christmas, retweeted a few funny links. Last friday as a snow storm was coming in, I could see almost all of the big downtown business were letting everyone out of work at noon, so when work gave us the go ahead to go when we want, I let everyone know they should leave ASAP to avoid the downtown traffic which would ensue at noon. Also, I used twitter to “watch” the Greycup game, when the tweets got interesting enough to warrent changing the channel, I did - otherwise, I could channel surf & not be too bored.

Facebook is a totally different experience for me, I keep track/stalk both old & new friends, arrange to meet friends, look at family & friends pictures, share my pictures of friends & family, share links I found elsewhere with friends who may find them interesting, and occasionally share a blog posting I have done. I do not add, nor talk to strangers on FB, but I will chat with them on twitter.

When I am waiting for files, or otherwise not engaged at work, I glance over to my tweetdeck & see if anything is interesting - most of the time, no, but once & a while - it can be engaging. Same goes for watching TV.

I have both facebook & twitter in tweetdeck, and my gmail notifier keeps me updated if I get any notifications on facebook which tweetdeck doesn’t pull in. If what I am watching or doing isn’t engaging, I have a possibility of an active outlet through either twitter or facebook at any time, unfortunately SDMB doesn’t have a feed I can plug in to Tweetdeck, but if it did, I would have all my web distractions in one app.

I use it to keep track of webcomic artists, and when they update their posts, add bonus panels or drawings, or if they have something cool to show.
I also follow a bunch of celebrities that i enjoy hearing from and reading posts by, as well as a few comedians that post random jokes on twitter.

I also like having pretty much the entire cast of full house on twitter just for no reason other than the fact i can follow them all again.

I have like 2 real life friends that use Twitter. And one of them is my Professor. -_-