Using Twitter for Business Information and Advice

Recently Macworld's Jason Snell offered some advice on how businesses can use the popular "microblogging" service Twitter to promote themselves. Here's a look at how the service can work for business people looking to reach out to companies whose products and services they depend on.

Twitter has moved beyond just keeping up what your friends are doing -- it can be a great resource for information you can use in your work. Find out about product updates or get tips on productivity, and even complain; in some cases you get better service through Twitter than on the phone.

It's all in who you follow -- and I'm not talking about Oprah, Ashton Kutchner, or Stephen Colbert. I follow several companies whose software I use everyday.

Some that I follow:

Adium (@adium)  My IM client. They post about version updates, new features, and answer user questions.

Tweetie (@tweetie): My current Twitter client of choice. Prolific posters (1,205 at last count), they tweet to answer user questions, post links to tips, announce updates, workarounds, and more.

Firefox (@firefox): One of the three browsers I regularly use. They're using Twitter to solicit feedback, post about new features, and discuss browsers in general.

Opera (@opera): One of my other browsers. Opera recently celebrated tis 15th anniversary, and Twitter was a lovefest for them. They use Twitter to interact with users, post links, and post links.

37signals (@37signals): Maker of Basecamp and Campfire, Web tools I use for collaboration and project management. The 37signals guys are tweeting about tips and product news, and they answer questions.

AT&T (@ATTNews): AT&T posts network status updates so you can find out why you've lost the signal on your iPhone -- and get an ETA on the fix. Also posts tips and news.

Western Digital (@WesternDigital): Hard drive maker WD tweets company news and reviews, plus an occasional coupon code -- worth following just for that.

Intuit (@intuit) Intuit focuses its Twitter account on small businesses -- tips and links to resources. A great resource for those getting started and looking for ways to improve.

Mint.com (@mintdotcom): The online personal finance tool tweets about product  updates and finance tips found on its blog.

Comcast (@comcastcares): Comcast subscribers can turn to its Twitter account to converse about problems and ask questions. They seem pretty responsive -- 29,583 updates and counting!

Many other Mac software companies are also on Twitter; to find them you can search on Twitter. Or just try typing "twitter.com/[companyname]" (replacing companyname with the actual company name, of course). That works most of the time, if they have an account.

For me, it's the interaction with these companies that makes Twitter so valuable. Leave a comment and let me know which Mac tweeters you like to follow.

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