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More on Twitter

Twitter talk is going nuts since celebrities like Oprah and Ashton Kutcher have started using it. In fact, did you know that Twitter traffic has jumped 43% since Oprah’s 1st tweet and more than 1 million new users joined since then? That’s huge. Accordingly, there’s plenty of Twitter coverage in big media outlets like the New York Times. Here are some opinions:

Jena Wortham, in Why I Am Obsessed With Twitter, says:

“Twitter is much more than the collective musings of the tech-savvy elite. It’s a window into the public mind… Since the service tugs at our innermost navel-gazing, Vanity Smurf — by asking us to share whatever we’re thinking about — the flood of messages can deliver surprising insights into the digital pulse… As one friend and longtime devotee described it, Twitter is also a self-propagating recommendation engine. By carefully selecting which users and companies to follow, you can tailor a stream of steadily refreshed news that appeals to you, much better than any Google algorithm could.”

Claire Cain Miller, in Putting Twitter’s World to Use, says:

“…But taken collectively, the stream of messages can turn Twitter into a surprisingly useful tool for solving problems and providing insights into the digital mood. By tapping into the world’s collective brain, researchers of all kinds have found that if they make the effort to dig through the mundane comments, the live conversations offer an early glimpse into public sentiment — and even help them shape it.

Soon, machines could twitter as much as people. Corey Menscher, a graduate student at New York University, developed the Kickbee, an elastic band with vibration sensors that his pregnant wife wore to alert Twitter each time the baby kicked: “I kicked Mommy at 08:52 PM on Fri, Jan 2!” Mr. Menscher is now considering selling the product.

Pairing sensors with Twitter leads some to think Twitter could be used to send home security alerts or tell doctors when a patient’s blood sugar or heart rate climbs too high. In the aggregate, such real-time data streams could aid medical researchers.

Already doctors use Twitter to ask for help and share information about procedures. At Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, surgeons and residents twittered throughout a recent operation to remove a brain tumor from a 47-year-old man who has seizures. ”

Also, Wortham recommends Tweetmeme as a way of seeing what messages and themes are popular on Twitter. I’ve pasted in a widget below showing the five most popular technology-related Tweets below:

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