Twitter and the Usefulness of Real Time Social Networks

I don't feel the same way about Twitter as I do about my blog. If I don't get a chance to, uh, tweet for a couple of days, I don't feel an itch to get back at it. I'm in Twitter because, as my colleague once put it, "it's an excellent lens for focusing attention". These days, I can't not be in Twitter. In a year, I'll be saying that about some other tool, no doubt. That said, Twitter sure is handy for solving tiny, localized problems. For example, today I asked my tweeps (and don't get me started on the language around Twitter) three questions, and each one was well-answered:

  1. What's your preferred local ISP? I got two quick votes for Retrix.
  2. Where, aside from Future Shop, could I order an external hard drive online from a Canadian Vendor? I probably got ten responses, and most of them were for NCIX. They're reputable, but pretty geeky.
  3. What's up with the live, online feed for the Canucks game? I had some browser troubleshooting to do there--others verified on Twitter that it was "working for them".

We need to continue to be skeptical about the value and distraction effect of these always-on and always-connected tools. Still, they can prove handy if you've got a problem (and particularly a geeky problem) to solve.