Social Enterprise

For tech news, quit RSS and follow these 12 on Twitter

There's a way to keep up with the most important stories in tech without wasting time in an RSS reader. Learn how to use Twitter to be more efficient.

One of the most valuable aspects of social media is that it can allow you to rely on human beings to filter out the noise on the Internet and get to the valuable information in a more efficient way. Twitter can give you a big assist in that department, especially when it comes to following the latest tech news.

That may sound odd to some of you, if you've looked at Twitter in the past and found nothing but a lot of noise and very little useful information. However, I'm going to show you a trick that will allow you to use Twitter as a real-time feed for tech news that is much better and more efficient than an RSS reader.

For perspectives on the latest in tech, you can also follow my Twitter feed: @jasonhiner.

The secret to Twitter is that you have to know who to follow. I've put together a list of a dozen technology journalists who post a regular stream of links to the latest and greatest tech news stories, and rarely post off-topic chatter.

You can find a list of these 12 journalists below, but I have to caution you that if you click the links to their individual Twitter pages then you won't see the full value of their Twitter stream because these pages include all of their @replies to other Twitter users. Normally, you wouldn't see any of these tweets (the ones that begin with @username) unless you also follow the person mentioned in the reply.

Go to my Twitter list TechNews12 to get a better idea of how useful this type of Twitter news feed can be. And, the good news is that you don't even have to be a Twitter member to access this list. If you like it, you can simply bookmark the page.

If you are a Twitter member (or decide to sign up) then you can follow this list and it will show up in your "Lists" section in the right column. You can also choose to follow all 12 of these individuals as your foundation on Twitter and then add other tech experts to the mix as you find them, based on your specialties and interests (see my larger directory of 140 tech experts on Twitter).

Again, here's a description of the 12 on my list:

1. Lance Ulanoff

Editor in Chief of PC Magazine (now PCMag.com), Lance provides a regular stream of news links on the most important stories on computing and mobile, and a little bit of consumer electronics.

2. Mike Elgan

A prolific freelance journalist for multiple tech publications, Mike tweets stories from around the Web on a wide breadth of tech topics.

3. Kara Swisher

Veteran Wall Street Journal columnist has a discerning eye for the big stories. On Twitter, she also gives quick links to stories when she has a scoop on something.

4. Shibhani Joshi

Journalist for Fox Business Network tweets lots of great tech stories every weekday, especially stories relating to public tech companies. After all, she's a NASDAQ reporter.

5. Larry Dignan

ZDNet editor in chief has the angle on business tech and enterprise stories. Often quickly analyzes the earnings reports of publicly-traded tech companies. (Disclaimer: ZDNet and TechRepublic are sister sites, both part of CBS Interactive.)

6. John Paczkowski

Editor for All Things Digital (a Wall Street Journal property) blogs and tweets about the latest developments in the hi-tech industry, especially Silicon Valley.

7. Pete Cashmore

The Twitter account of this Scottish entrepreneur, the CEO of Mashable, is mostly a feed of the latest Mashable news stories covering consumer technology and social media.

8. Mary Jo Foley

No one has better sources inside Microsoft than Mary Jo, and she regularly blogs and tweets about her latest scoops on Microsoft plans.

9. Harry McCracken

Editor/Founder of Technologizer (and former editor of PC World), Harry is an excellent filter of the most interesting developments in computing.

10. Robert Scoble

If you want to know what's next on the Web, social media, and emerging technologies, Scoble usually has an eye on it.

11. Richard McManus

For the latest in news and trends on Web technologies, ReadWriteWeb Editor/Founder Richard McManus has a good Twitter stream, even though it is mostly filled with links to RWW stories.

12. Josh Topolsky

Topolsky is the editor in chief of Engadget, which has lots of news stories on consumer electronics, smartphones, and other gadgets. His Twitter stream is a great way to catch Engadget's top stories in real time.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

36 comments
jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I will never become a twit on twitter.

demuxer
demuxer

nice try, but your list is a bullshit, btw I cant forget my RSS cause includes my favorite blogs, and my feeds cycle until I delete 'em or check 'em, thats not the same for twitter

sharon-gadbois
sharon-gadbois

Hi, Jason .. Do all 12 follow you back? @sharongadbois

MelroyM
MelroyM

Great. Was finding ways of keeping tab about tech. Great help. My RSS will still continue however.

GTGeek88
GTGeek88

Tweets are much harder to follow and find and, of course, only have 140 characters. Anything coming into my email can be read at my leisure and is always there whether I'm on or offline. And as someone else said, it's rare that the info needs to be instantaneous. Time to digest is a good thing.

dan.hodges
dan.hodges

I know 13 is an unlucky number, but I'd consider adding David Pogue, the Technology columnist of the New York Times.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Jason, so instead of subscribing to these folks' web logs and checking the RSS pane in Firefox, I'm checking your list instead? I can set the frequency the 'Feed Sidebar' plug-in checks those sites, and I get a pop-up when new content is available. I can't see any form of subscription or update notification mechanism to do this with a Twitter list. (I acknowledge this may be possible with a Twitter account, but you did point out I don't need one.) Once I've opened a link from Feed Sidebar, the link goes away. I can also delete the link if I don't choose to read it. The links I haven't read are always the only ones listed. If I look at a Twitter list, I have to remember the last time I checked it and see what links are new since then. With RSS, links to an article don't go away until I want them to. With a Twitter list, I've no control over when links to content disappear. What's the advantage?

rgoeken1
rgoeken1

This is TECH news, not about walking fluffy in the park. I read technical news because of content, not because someone was the first to report a router passed wind (in a very short message). Is technical news from TechRepublic to become a textual "sound bite" and we loose another good source just because it has to fit a smartphone screen? Sad.

valvelifter
valvelifter

The problem with twitter is that, unless you are VERY selective, it ends up being another source of internet noise. And if you are selective, it becomes pointless and you may as well use RSS feeds anyway. I don't want to become one of those saddos who are glued to their iphone all day.

kch50
kch50

I find Twitter a waste of my time in so many ways. I have an account just so I can sort of talk about it.....

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Every time Jason posts a list of technology leaders, someone invariably points out the nationalities. Equally invariable is the lack of suggested non-US names worth following. If you and techystuff don't like Jason's list, why not post your own?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

What would the significance be of them following him back?

1LUV1T
1LUV1T

Once a week tweets for only news that matters. @anthonyoren

techystuff
techystuff

It would be nice if there were a few other English non USA Technology columnist's, as I'm from the UK :-) Just to get some more balanced world wide views, for us Johnny Foreigner's that is :-)

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

There's a LOT of chaff to sort through in RSS, to get to the wheat. On Twitter, there can be plenty of chaff, too. But, if you follow the right people on Twitter, the wheat-to-chaff ratio is much better than RSS. Now, keep in mind that I'm, talking about real-time updates, when you're checking on the latest news that's happened especially in the past day or two. If you want stuff older than that, then RSS can be better for sorting through stuff from the past week or month, although that can quickly get overwhelming when you're dealing with news sites.

michael.baldelli
michael.baldelli

Another thing is that I would rather see *NEWS*. I recall not too long ago one of the bloggers/journalists 'round here had made some sort of comment about his use of Twitter for reporting news, and within 10 posts, I found him talking about his walking through central park looking for some loose cockatoo. Excuse me, how is this news? That is fluff and most certainly not the sort of noise I want to find myself being tweaked with if I were to @follow.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

should use twitter to update the no-fly list. That's all I got to say about twitter.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

Twitter is a glorified amalgamated RSS feed. For those unaware, you can add each and every person on Twitter to your RSS reader. Check this link out to see how: http://help.twitter.com/entries/15361-how-to-find-your-rss-feed Basically, Twitter took RSS and "dumbed it down" so the masses could use it and understand it. Every web based Twitter page is nothing more than a wrapper for an XML feed. Years before Twitter existed, RSS feeds were out there, however a lot of people didn't use them...they were more of a "news junkie" or "geek" thing. Twitter took RSS feeds and coupled them with easy to use publishing tools and placed them on a single platform. On the upside, nearly everyone who has a computer uses Twitter. On the downside, this creates a lot of drivel and "noise" so to speak.

pwarrenz3
pwarrenz3

Twitter = Mostly Internet noise from fad addicted smart phone users. ""Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite the Iliad", said tech writer Bruce Sterling. "For many people, the idea of describing your blow-by-blow activities in such detail is absurd," hypothesized writer Clive Thompson. "Why would you subject your friends to your daily minutiae? And conversely, how much of their trivia can you absorb? The growth of ambient intimacy can seem like modern narcissism taken to a new, supermetabolic extreme?the ultimate expression of a generation of celebrity-addled youths who believe their every utterance is fascinating and ought to be shared with the world."" Content of tweets Content of Tweets according to Pear Analytics. San Antonio-based market research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a 2-week period in August 2009 from 11:00a to 5:00p (CST) and separated them into six categories:[45] * Pointless babble ? 41% * Conversational ? 38% * Pass-along value ? 9% * Self-promotion ? 6% * Spam ? 4% * News ? 4%[45] Social networking researcher Danah Boyd responded to the Pear Analytics survey by arguing that what the Pear researchers labeled "pointless babble" is better characterized as "peripheral awareness" or "social grooming". Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter For the most part RSS feeds still resemble something called quality content, if used correctly I can get just the headlines and the first couple of lines of content, read further if it interests me. I wish I could find that article link that calculated how long it would take an average Internet user to read every page that exists today. Something on the order of 17,500 years! Sorry if I feel have more important things to do with my time than sort through what has become just a contemporary version of spam. Edit: In my haste it ended up under another posters thread.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I find the following useful to follow, who were not on your list... https://twitter.com/jasonhiner https://twitter.com/geekami (high volume feed) Plus a handful of Android specific resources like: https://twitter.com/doubletwist https://twitter.com/slideme https://twitter.com/scott_carter https://twitter.com/socialworkplace https://twitter.com/TheAppBrain I probably missed a couple, and the quality varies greatly - I'm not a Twitter master. Anyhow, there is some noise on Twitter, but there is no doubt that it is one of the most dynamic sources of fast-breaking news. I think Jason is right, if you're following the right people, Twitter is a quicker tool for getting directed to the information that matters to you than wading through RSS feeds. I still use reader.google.com and DIGG as well, but most of my recent links to breaking news (Android Tablet running Flash, for example) came from Tweets. I think what a lot of people here are missing is, the tweet isn't what delivers the news story, the link contained IN the tweet is where the information is. Tweets often amount to having a trusted friend or associate say, "you should read this article" - with a link to that article.

Ricewilliamj
Ricewilliamj

But if you follow the right websites/blogs/etc in RSS, the ratio remains the same. Twitter is just the "it" thing for the moment, but it's definitely not better than RSS, and it can be worse at times.

dpeplinski
dpeplinski

I appreciate what you've done here - given me some names of people worth paying attention to - but twitter remains a horrible medium. I've checked out a few of these feeds, and the "@stranger :)" sort of posts are a waste of my time. These are simply additions to my RSS feeds.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"There's a LOT of chaff to sort through in RSS, ... But, if you follow the right people on Twitter, ..." If I follow only the web logs of those same people via RSS, how can the ratio be any worse? I guess part of this depends on one's need to get immediate updates. I've read very little on tech sites (and few non-tech ones) that couldn't afford to wait a couple of days for the dust to settle. Industry pundits and day traders may have different needs.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

uses twitter? Where did that come from?

MikeLott
MikeLott

@pwarrenz3@... Interesting point of view. I agree it is hard to sort through the dross, and Twitter adds additional ease for a quick "lifestyle tweet". Perhaps professional journalists should have a professional profile and a personal profile in the hope that the professional is kept to just that. Any chance of giving some insight into your top 10 RSS tech feeds? Mike

rtk
rtk

So basically, they read a fraction of a fraction of a percentage and made a guess based on that. Their margin of error on this study is nearly 100%.

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

...to follow the 4% only. (That's the 4% news, of course, not the 4% spam)

pwarrenz3
pwarrenz3

It wasn't entirely clear if this question was aimed at me or everyone here, but I have more of a process than a 'Top 10 List'. Some I read regularly via Google Reader, and are not purely or directly tech feeds. 1. AI3 - Mike Bergman Michael K. Bergman is the CEO and co-founder of Structured Dynamics LLC since November 2008, a provider of services and products for the semantic enterprise, and editor of the lightweight UMBEL subject concept ontology. He began this blog in July 2005. 2. http://mashable.com/ 3. http://10000words.net/ 4. http://spectrum.ieee.org/rss/priv 5. http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/ My Process - I also look for tech pages of RSS feeds by topic (see examples below) which I add to my own homegrown RSS aggregator. a. http://techrepublic.com.com/1200-22-5154511.html b. http://www.pcworld.com/resource/rss.html c. http://www.computerworld.com/s/feeds/rss d. http://www.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/dlrss e. http://www.infoworld.com/rss f. http://www.semanticuniverse.com/learning_old.html "However, I?m going to show you a trick that will allow you to use Twitter as a real-time feed for tech news that is much better and more efficient than an RSS reader." So what Jason accomplished with his TechNews12 I already have in place via RSS, I fail to see how this is less efficient or not better than using Twitter. In the end I feel it all comes down to personal tastes and capabilities, to Twitter or not to Twitter, that be the question, and I opt not.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

If you follow the right people, you avoid 90% of the noise. I've given a list of the right people to follow (based on three years of experience on Twitter). By the way, RSS has a lot of noise as well (duplicate stories, irrelevant posts, bad links, etc). That's why Twitter can be useful - it can allow you to cut through the noise and find the most important stories.

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