We've Caught the Twitter Virus

One of my jobs here at DeSmogBlog is to keep an eye on emerging Web technologies and models and see if there are applications for this site. One of the newest such applications is Twitter. There's always Wikipedia, but David Lee King has a decent explanation:

Think of Twitter like a personal IM account that can be shared with everyone. Once you have a Twitter account set up, you can send short IM, SMS, or web-based messages to Twitter. Others who are marked as your friends or followers receive those messages. And there’s a public timeline that displays everything everyone is texting (there’s also an option to keep messages private, and to send messages only to individuals, which triggers an email).

Lots of people refer to it as a form of micro-blogging, but I like to call it one's 'status trickle'. My first reaction was “are you kidding me?” However, it's really caught on among the Web's early adopters, so I'm hesitant to dismiss Twitter.

Here are a couple of blogs posts specific to how non-profits might use Twitter.

We've started our own Twitter account. In truth, we're not sure how we're going to use it quite yet. We're thinking of treating it like a low-volume links blog. We'd post or a few links to interesting climate change stuff we find around the web, but maybe wouldn't bother to write a full post about.

If you're a Twitterer, you can add us as a friend and follow our status trickle at http://twitter.com/DeSmogBlog. If you haven't tried Twitter, you can sign up for free and give it a whirl. Of course, geek trends are a moving target. There's already a promising competitor in Jaiku, and I recently learned about MySay, which looks to be Twitter for voice.

How do you use Twitter? How do you think we should?