8 digital pros worth following on Twitter

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Here's a confession about Twitter: I follow, but I do not tweet. That is, I regularly read the bite-sized blurbs that have become so ubiquitous these days, but I rarely contribute anything of my own to the Twitter community.

I do this because Twitter is a fantastic information filter for those looking to stay informed, even if its strength as a marketing tool is still debatable. The 140-character limit may not seem like much, but it's usually enough to deliver a headline and the slant of the tweeter (that is, why it was worth tweeting in the first place). I read my morning Twitter right after I read my morning Facebook, and right before I scan my RSS feeds, emails, and check the homepage of my local newspaper.

Why do I mention this? Well, for every Twitter person I know, there seems to be scores more who insist that the platform is utterly useless. My answer to them is a simple question: Who do you follow?

I usually get a blank stare. I get that look from people who have given up on Twitter because they often fail to appreciate that on Twitter, you are who you follow. In other words, Twitter is only as good as the people you subscribe to. If you subscribe to a bunch of duds, well, you're going to hate Twitter. But if you follow interesting people who tweet good information about the things you care about, you'll probably be a Twitter evangelist in no time.

So who's worth following?

Building your "follow" list is always a work in progress, but the names below are certainly a good starting place for anyone working in digital. Give some of these names a try for a week, refine your results by checking to see who they follow, and see how long it takes you to make Twitter a part of your morning reading.

Oh, and for those who are a little intimidated by all the funny lingo and symbols on Twitter, cruise on over to BusinessWeek to read its humorous, but helpful, glossary of common Twitter terms. 

Fred Wilson
Venture capitalist

Followers: > 28,000

Tweets: > 5,300

Who do you follow on Twitter?

Wilson: "I really enjoy following Dave Winer."

Can you give a specific example of how Twitter has helped you do your job or better understand digital?

Wilson: "I hear about new companies and new ideas all the time on Twitter. I follow up on them, and they lead to new investment opportunities for me."

Gian Fulgoni
Chairman of comScore

Followers: > 900

Tweets: > 800

How has Twitter helped you professionally?

Fulgoni: "I was able to quickly get a perspective of key opinions regarding the merits of the Yahoo/Microsoft deal and better understand how comScore could deliver value to both companies to help make their partnership successful."

Who do you follow on Twitter?

Fulgoni: "Michael Arrington. Love him or hate him, he has a deep insight into the inner workings of the digital ecosystem. [He's a] great source for up-to-the-minute news, rumors, and opinions."

Dave Morgan
Serial entrepreneur

Followers: > 1,100

Tweets: > 300

Who is an industry pro who you follow that ought to be required reading?

Morgan: "Fred Wilson. Fred is one of the most engaged investors, bloggers, and tweeters, and [he] is [an] expert on how web services will impact media and marketing."

Can you give a specific example of how Twitter has helped you do your job or better understand digital?

Morgan: "I'm rarely in a meeting where either someone doesn't mention one of my tweets or I haven't learned something from following them."

Ann Glenn
Senior web producer at Sony Pictures Imageworks

Followers: > 3,400

Tweets: > 6,400

Why do you use Twitter?

Glenn: "It helps me stay connected to key influencers in L.A. and beyond. I look at it as one big cocktail party conversation that you jump in and out of at any time. I follow a lot of different types of people and companies because I like to see how they utilize all social media (not just Twitter)."

Who do you follow on Twitter?

Glenn: "This is hard because there are so many good people out there to follow in the social media space. Chris Brogan @chrisbrogan for his tips on implementing social media into businesses. Brian Solis @briansolis because he's forward thinking in the social media space. Jeremiah Owyang @jowyang works for Forrester Research and has his finger on the social media pulse."

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Brian Zimmerman
Brian Zimmerman August 12, 2009 at 11:22 PM

Check out Cick Costolo http://twitter.com/DickC w/ 600k+ followers. Dick was CEO of Feedburner sold to GOOG & his Second City stand-up comedy shows in his tweets. Dick puts a laugh on any day! :)

Guillermo Corea
Guillermo Corea August 12, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Nice list. As a digital media professional and even though it's not a specific person, I also recommend following PBS Media Shift - http://twitter.com/PBSMediaShift.