NEWS FROM THE LAB - Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Twitter as a Professional Tool Posted by Mikko @ 08:04 GMT

I've never been a fan of social networks.

Twitter LogoI'm not on Facebook. Or Myspace. Or LinkedLn.

But last year I decided to take a look at this Twitter thingy.

I gave myself a trial period of couple of months, until the end of 2009 to decide if Twitter is useful or not. And if I wouldn't find it useful, I would quit using it.

During these months I've learned that Twitter is quite different from the other social networks. It is actually quite useful as a professional tool.

Many don't really understand what Twitter is all about. They think it's a system where people can tell others about their daily chores ("just had corn flakes for breakfast!"). This is not what Twitter is for.

Twitter is at its best when experts in their own field share notes, links and pointers to important developments they see.

In the field of data security, that would be a note about a new vulnerability. A major outbreak. Phishing run. Or something else.

And today, the place where you would hear about it first would be Twitter. Not the news. Not the blogs. Twitter.

I myself have now reached 5000 followers on Twitter (thanks!) and plan on continuing.

And the neat thing about Twitter is that you don't need to even sign up. It's all public.

You can just browse anyone's Tweets or make a global search on search.twitter.com.

Before Twitter, when something major would be going on, the first warnings and initial discussion about it would be in private – via e-mail, private mailing lists and text messages. Now much of that would happen in Twitter – in public. And you wouldn't even need to have a Twitter account to follow it.

As an example. Let's say that a major website like TechCrunch would get hacked, Just by searching for "techcrunch hacked" in Twitter you would be able to see the very first warnings, read what's the buzz and get the first expert opinions.

TechCrunch hacked

And the best part: Twitter is full of interesting figures from the field of computer security.


Signing off,