I have recently been experimenting with Twitter. At first, I thought it was just a huge time suck, but am finding it increasingly useful for work and politics.
Below is a "Twitter Mosaic" that shows my Twitter followers. If you're interested in social media or keeping up with what is going on at a very grassroots, instant level in your community, or about a cause or product you are interested in, Twitter might be for you. I suggest using the Tweetdeck application to keep things organized. For those who want to focus on local commentary, there is a TwitterLocal app, and for those interested in sports, there is Twackle. Unfortunately, none of these apps are integrated.
I can see a lot of uses for Twitter and politics. Twitter searches can certainly help one keep up with issues at a grassroots level, and address controversial issues before they explode. Most politicians on Twitter offer little more than perfunctory updates (so far), which makes me think their staffers are likely handling it for them. However, those who comment on the political process are some of the most active users of Twitter.
Unlike Facebook and Myspace, it seems that locally Twitter has limited penetration beyond students, media types, and technophiles. So the jury is still out on whether it is ultimately useful and lasting, or just this year's version of the beta tape or the Newton.
And of course, there is the ultimate question: do people really care what their 374 followers are up doing or how they feel about an issue, and vice versa? So far, it seems that they do.