Twitter or Pownce or Jaiku use cases – what can you do with Twitter?

I had a hard time coming up with a good reason to sign up for Twitter. But encouragement from whurley and all the press from SXSW Interactive 2007 (San Fran Gate, Slate, NYTimes)  made me sign up out of curiousity. I haven’t touched Pownce or Jaiku, and while I had heard about Dodgeball, I had no use for its Shout feature, all of which are similar feature sets to Twitter.

Now, I’m not a big text messager on my cell phone, but I do love Instant Messaging. My initial take on these services is that the point of Twitter and other microblog services is to allow text messaging of one person to many people at once using SMS or instant messaging as the sending or receiving device. It’s pushing one message to many, one status to many, and the receiver can determine how they want to receive the messages (web only, IM, or on their mobile device like the BlackJack or iPhone.)

So I went out looking for innovative uses for these microblog services. I submit this list and would love to keep adding to it.

  1. Really Simple Voting Poll tool as described by James Governor.
  2. Babysitter, nanny, or SAHP updates – parent or babysitter or nanny writes updates on what the baby ate, drank, or how long he or she napped as well as diaper status. Baby telemetry via SMS like The Trixie Tracker. I can’t find a specific example of someone using it for this purpose, though. I would mark those private as a parent.  
  3. Ultimate online or offline status indicator: “Rather than having to change your status on your IM, make a call to your colleague or family, making a blog post or sending several one line emails, with Twitter you can let everyone know exactly what you’re doing with a single 140 character message.” says Robin Good. Tons of examples of this. How about a search for the phrase “going to the store” to examine some examples.
  4. Microblogging: “it is much faster as writing a blog post, as fast as an sms or IM” says Loic Le Meur. I like the founder of Obvious, who made Twitter, Evan Williams’ twitter page as an example of a microblog at
  5. Shopping, the original business plan for all the web stuff. I think is the especially best example.
  6. News updates and conference coverage. Check out or
  7. Event updates or invites or general activity management like “who wants breakfast tacos?”
  8. Mini updates to your blog with a Twitter window as a side widget on your blog page, allowing you to do updates while you’re out and about. Barganista has an excellent use case. Really, it helps you write anything you need to remind yourself or someone else of but you’re not near a computer and only have your phone with you. Think of a To Do List that you can continue to post to.
  9. Friendsourcing as described on – asking your friends list for the best plumber, house inspector, or web designer that they know of (or are themselves).
  10. Get geographical by fine tuning your twitter reads to local items. Find an Austin-based weather updater to follow, favorite area sports teams updates like the Round Rock Express and the University of Texas sports scores (although I can only find which is not local), and an Austin local news feed (
  11. Integrate Twitter as a cost-free SMS gateway into your own applications as Monitwitter has done.


  • July 10, 2007 - 12:42 pm | Permalink


    GREAT list, and provides me with much needed justification around why I continue to sign up on these ‘social’ tools without really having a feel for how I might use them.

    If you want a look at Pownce I have invites but they are pretty easy to get these days.

    And if you spot “snowgoon” on any of the above, 9 times out of 10 it’s me.. it’s an addiction.

  • July 14, 2007 - 3:10 am | Permalink

    I love how you’ve consolidated all these innovative ideas into one blog post. Thanks for including my use of Twitter in such esteemed company.

    Recently, I signed up for Pownce and haven’t had chance to really figure out its strengths. I took a totally different approach with Twitter. I didn’t sign on until I figured out how I wanted to use it first.

    I like experimenting withnew web tools as time It’s always tricky to know whether or not to have a strategy first or just jump in and see what happens.

    Let me know if you’d like a Pownce invite. Maybe you can teach me a thing or two. ; )


    aka Bargainista

  • July 14, 2007 - 3:26 am | Permalink

    Hey, thanks Gordon! I got a Pownce invite the day after posting this item, but thanks for offering. I’ll add you on Twitter and Pownce, I’m also looking for kindred tech writer spirits on these social sites. I’m annegentle on Pownce too.

  • July 14, 2007 - 4:25 am | Permalink

    Hi Eden the Bargainista, thanks for popping over! I’m just starting to try out Pownce so we’ll see if I find anything uniquely interesting about its feature set.

    I always like to have a strategy first, but sometimes it’s more fun to jump in. So what’s your strategy with Pownce? Do share. 🙂

  • August 15, 2007 - 5:37 am | Permalink

    Those look like some interesting ideas, but I’m still not convinced about twitter. I’m also scared to give it a try, as I don’t need yet another online place to be checking/writing. …. or do I?

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