For new users on Twitter, the toughest thing to figure out is who to follow. And since Twitter is a real-time stream of 140-character updates from people whose thoughts and opinions matter to you, the issue of who to follow is what makes Twitter either a time-waster or a useful tool for gathering intelligence.
With that in mind, I've put together a list of the top techies worth following on Twitter.
You can also find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jasonhiner.
My list isn't based on the most famous tech personalities who have Twitter accounts or the ones who have the most Twitter followers. Instead, I've looked for the technology thought leaders who post the most useful information--links, news, tips, inside information, and perspectives on current events. I also looked for techies whose Twitter streams weren't filled with too much chaff--off topic thoughts, lots of short replies, and detailed reports on what they had for lunch.
So here is the cream that rose to the top:
10. Rob Enderle (Analyst, Enderle Group): Rob is renowned for looking at the tech world with a discerning, critical eye; fortunately, he's brought that same perspective to Twitter and successfully deployed it in 140-character chunks
9. Paul Thurrott (Founder, Windows Supersite): Terrific source for information on the Microsoft product ecosystem; not afraid to tell you when he loves something or hates it; uses Twitter to share both news and tips
8. Jeremiah Owyang (Analyst, Forrester Research): Focuses on communication and how technology is revolutionizing it in all its forms, even focuses on Twitter itself; his blog post on how he uses Twitter is an excellent starting point for those who want to learn how to be useful on Twitter
7. Lance Ulanoff (Editor in Chief of PCMag): Excellent source of links, quick news hits, and instant analysis on lots of general tech topics
6. Charlene Li (Author and thought leader): Provides big picture perspectives on emerging technologies, social networking, and the overall direction of the technology world
5. Jason Snell (Editorial Director of Macworld): Best Twitter source for fair-minded information about Apple and its galaxy of products
4. Rafe Needleman (Editor of Webware): For Web 2.0, cloud computing, and Silicon Valley startup information, Rafe has it covered; doesn't post as often as some of others on this list but nearly everything he does post is worthwhile
3. Dave Zatz (Digital lifestyle writer): Great perspectives on gadgets and digital lifestyle technologies; Twitter has a lot of big-name gadget writers but none of them post as much relevant content on Twitter as Dave
2. Padmasree Warrior (CTO at Cisco Systems): The highest ranking tech executive you'll find on Twitter (who actually posts useful stuff); offers an inside look at a high-ranking IT executive and she regularly shares astute observations about the direction of tech, the economy, and the world at large
1. Harry McCracken (Editor of Technologizer): Former PC World editor has rapidly--and successfully-- refashioned himself as a Web journalist; he writes early and often on a wide variety of tech subjects and no techie on Twitter has a better wheat-to-chaff ratio than Harry. That's why he made No. 1.
Honorable mentionHere are another 20 techies that didn't quite make the top 10 but are still worth following.
- Ina Fried - News.com reporter
- Abbie Lundberg - Former editor of CIO magazine
- Matt Cutts - Google engineer
- Danah Boyd - Academic/researcher in new media
- Ryan Block - Former editor of Engadget
- John C Dvorak - Legendary tech pundit
- Tom Merritt - Host of Buzz Out Loud
- Guy Kawasaki - Venture Capitalist
- Sarah Lacy - Silicon Valley writer/reporter
- Michael Arrington - TechCrunch founder/blogger
- Sascha Segan - Mobile writer for PCMag
- Veronica Belmont - Revision 3 host
- Leo Laporte - Host of This Week in Tech
- Molly Wood - CNET TV host
- Om Malik - Founder of GigaOm
- Natali Del Conte - CNET TV host
- Jason Calacanis - Founder of Mahalo
- Robert Scoble - Fast Company blogger
- Kevin Rose - Founder of Digg
What do you think about my top 10? Who would you put in your top 10? Join the discussion.
For more on Twitter, see:
- Is Twitter the most important development on the Web in 2008?
- 10 tools that will make you a Twitter power user
- 11 reasons to use Twitter for business