Twitter is such a great example of how social networking is not just a stalking exercise or a haven of perplexingly stupid updates. My twitter feed is my first-hand source to the latest and the greatest information out there. I am following  a bunch of tech sites along with other things that I am interested in and I get almost real-time updates of all the newest developments taking place out there. It is not amazing just because it is giving me the best info, it is amazing because the information is coming to me so easily!

I never really got into the whole RSS feeds usage even though I was following a couple of blogs and other websites. Now, almost every website, service and enterprise has a Twitter account that they use to send out updates. I follow a bunch of them and in a way Twitter for me has become a lot like an RSS feed aggregator. I don’t use Twitter to send minute by minute updates about how I just got out of bed or how I am tweeting about tweeting etc. It is more of an information exchange.

Here’s an example of how nicely it is working out for me: I am taking wireless/cellular course this semester that requires us to write weekly one page assignments on current events related to the wireless/cellular industry. I have had these “current event” assignments in earlier semesters in different courses but now, writing these assignments have become a breeze thanks to Twitter. I can already tell the difference; I used to spend so much time researching to find articles but always ended up getting slightly irrelevant, outdated news. With Twitter sitting in my browser, I don’t have to spend time looking for current events, they are, metaphorically, delivered to me at my doorstep. Some of my class-mates were complaining about not finding relevant information and when I mentioned that I use Twitter to write my assignments, they looked at me like I was Lady Gaga in normal clothes. I realized how misunderstood social media is, mainly because of its popular usage.

Even if someone is not following an account that is relevant to their research, just one keyword search will give them so many links and thoughts on their topic that they’d be spoilt for choices – an almost rags to riches story. The best part is that the tweets are updated in real-time even when the search is completed so all the latest updates are on top and everything is time-stamped making it very simple to sift through. Additionally, with smartphone apps and 24×7 connectivity, nobody has to be deprived of any information even when on the move. To me this is so much better than find someone gushing about finding a penny on the sidewalk. Even if someone is interested in getting both real information and about pointless announcements, they can create lists and sort out the tweets.

I have come to realize that there is so much potential in the technologies available to us today – especially social media – but we are just wasting it away by not using it right. It is as ridiculous as using a Bugatti or a Bentley as a taxi. Unless, of course, if you are Dubai, then it is just business and not ridiculous at all.