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Lots of debate lately about Twitter – what it is, why it matters, how to use it. I’ll throw this thought out there:

Twitter is my personal AP Newswire.

Here’s the thing. I can’t afford a Bloomberg terminal ($1,800/month) or an AP newsfeed in real time and I’m unwilling to even spend on real time stock quotes, since by and large I don’t trade in equities. However, there are LOTS of people on Twitter who either work at or have connections in the companies and industries that I follow and study.

A few examples:

  • On the day of the Bear Stearns crash, a Twitterati told me about conditions at Merrill Lynch and what was the thinking there
  • Jay Moonah tipped me off to Google AdWords Demographics before the post showed up in Reader
  • Pick any major newsworthy crash/disaster recently, like crane collapses or aircraft issues. Twitter has it long before CNN.
  • A Black Hat SEO recently disclosed a VERY cool trick for gaming Digg on Twitter. Never would have seen it otherwise.

Scoble‘s on track – it’s about who you follow that gives Twitter its value, and not who follows you. Being popular is fun, being informed is valuable.

For me, Twitter is my AP Newswire…

…I’d wager, in fact, that it’s faster than AP.

Names of some parties have been withheld for their protection, and in some cases, you won’t even find them in my public “people I follow” list.

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