Many non-users of Twitter say that one of the reasons they don’t use it is because they do not have the time. But, used properly Twitter can reduce the time you spend watching the news, reading newspapers/magazines/journals, and following blogs and news feeds.
The principle to using Twiter to reduce the time you spend sifting through media is to use it as a filter to the world. If you follow the right people and hash tags, anything that is worth reading is going to appear in the stream of tweets you follow, and the more important it is, the more often it will appear. The corollary being that if it wasn’t tweeted/retweeted then it was not really interesting/useful.
The key to using Twitter this way is to use a tool such as TweetDeck to follow different leads, for example key people, key hashtags, and key topics. I follow about 10 streams via TweetDeck and I probably look at TweetDeck for about 5 minutes every hour (every working/waking hour) which keeps me in touch with 90% of what I need to know. I have TweetDeck on my main pc, my netbook, and my iPhone so it is always there if I want it.
Last Friday I saw a presentation from Will Goodhand from BrainJuicer about their Digividuals project, and interestingly they were using Twitter as the ‘dashbord’ for their bots to report their findings. This is another indication that Twitter (or something like it) could be the information filter of the future.
This method of using Twitter to reduce the effort required to stay on top of things is part of a project we are looking at called the Efficient Exec.