Social Enterprise

Techies: The top 10 people you should follow on Twitter

Twitter can be a valuable tool for gathering collective intelligence from experts in the technology industry. The challenge is selecting the right people to follow. Here are the top 10.

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 mention

Here are another 20 techies that didn't quite make the top 10 but are still worth following.

TechRepublic editors and authors

You can also find a lot of TechRepublic editors and authors on Twitter, as well as a Twitter feed of the latest TechRepublic blog posts:

What do you think about my top 10? Who would you put in your top 10? Join the discussion.

For more on Twitter, see:

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.

58 comments
TechnOntology
TechnOntology

CTO yes, but look at her tweets. Nothing personal,but you really have to dig to find anything insightful, clever, or even informative.

Tomi Ahonen
Tomi Ahonen

Hi Jason Its an impressive list, quite comphrehensive and includes many that I also currently follow. However I do find it being the truth, nothing but the truth, but missing the whole truth. In fact its only half of the truth. Like if you picked the best thinkers of the personal computer space in the 1990s, but only included the Apple/Mac side of the aisle, and ignored totally the Microsoft side of the personal computer. In the whole list of Top 10 to follow, not one mobilist. In your honorable mentions there is only one with a mobile focus (Sascha) but even that is the mobilist of PC Magazine, and a very USA-centric view at that (where the US cellphone market is acknowledged by most mobile industry experts even in America, to be years behind the most advanced mobile markets such as Japan, South Korea, Finland, Sweden, Italy and Israel) Now, clearly you Jason must be then "biased" to think that most technology worth following is on the PC/internet side of the fence and the mobile/cellphone side is "irrelevant" not even worth following at 10% of your recommendations. That is fine, you have your own opinion. I would ask your readers to reconsider, however, that Google CEO says the future of the internet is mobile; that Yahoo CEO says the future of the internet is mobile; that Apple CEO changed the name of the company to no longer be Apple Computer, and is now only Apple, when he announced the iPhone (suggesting that even Apple thinks mobile is at least a relevant part of their future). Perhaps even you Jason might be inclined to seek some more mobilists to include in your faves to follow. Or perhaps you like to ignore the blatantly obvious future not unlike an ostrich sticking its head in the sand? Cheers, from one mobilist.. Tomi Ahonen :-) Twittering @tomiahonen www.tomiahonen.com

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

I have to agree w/ Palmetto and some others on this one. I don't have time to keep up w/ all the e-mail and blogs that are useful and/or interesting, either professionally or personally, and now I should add Twitter, too? Why? None of the "pros" noted so far in this or related blogs or the comments is enough to convince me. Also, it should be noted that my employer, a worldwide company w/ ~75K employees, has blocked access to Twitter, considering it a waste of employee productivity, and in this case I think I agree. For those of you who regularly use Twitter, how much time do you spend a week posting or reading posts?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I remember looking at it a few times, although it wasn't memorable enough to make an impression on my memory engrams. Anybody know why the button was hit?

Izzmo
Izzmo

Kevin Rose is more annoying than anything. He Twitters way too damn much.

Scholia
Scholia

A pretty clueless list, I think, and completely US-oriented, as usual! I do wonder if you've actually *read* tweets from some of the people you are puffing.... http://twitter.com/jackschofield

larrywl
larrywl

When I saw Enderle at top (okay 10th) I knew this was going to be a TERRIBLE list. Ulanoff is the only one I agree with and almost EVERYONE on your top-20 that didnt make the cut should have been on the top ten. I think you knew this though which is why you mention the next 20 anyway so that they cant complain that they weren't in the article. http://twitter.com/digitalbeat

willjamr
willjamr

You lost me right there. :-P

davebanesaccess
davebanesaccess

NoOne form universal deisgn or accessibility perspective so do feel free to try us www.twitter.com/abilitynet

apotheon
apotheon

Its an impressive list, quite comphrehensive and includes many that I also currently follow. However I do find it being the truth, nothing but the truth, but missing the whole truth. In fact its only half of the truth. Like if you picked the best thinkers of the personal computer space in the 1990s, but only included the Apple/Mac side of the aisle, and ignored totally the Microsoft side of the personal computer. Considering most of the "best thinkers" in "the personal computer space" in the '90s weren't working for either Apple or Microsoft, that's a fairly ironic statement. Oh, yeah, and . . . welcome to TR.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Welcome aboard. Despite having a substantial number of non-U.S. members, this site is based in the U.S., and the majority of the members live here. An American bias is almost unavoidable. What's a 'mobilist'?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm almost positive no one here cares about your bacon dinner, SanFran traffic codes, lunch with your boss, the 103 icons on your desktop, chicken wings, your brother's steak, your feelings on Sirius radio, and your medication habits. In short, your page is everything detractors cite as examples of the uselessness of Twitter and the narcissism of its users.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

that's why I've asked readers to post their own top 10 lists. ;-)

TBBrick
TBBrick

The guy's ah, well, ummm, an "otherwise very nice human being I'm sure" passing himself off as some computer expert. His predictions are far less accurate than the sensation rags on the grocery store racks.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I actually like Enderle's stuff because he doesn't go along with the crowd or the hype. I don't always agree, but I like to hear discordant opinions.

matt
matt

I thought the same thing. It was hard for me to take the rest of the list seriously.

bemayo
bemayo

I could not agree more.

thisisfutile
thisisfutile

Does Twitter have spell check? I bet you don't know why I'm curious.

bigredbird
bigredbird

Mike Massimino has been twittering up to launch time today, will try to twitter from orbit. Cool! (Astro_Mike)

MytonLopez
MytonLopez

As you can tell I am not a fan of the site. If I need advice I will search a relevant blog or post from Google. Why Twitter? Sounds lame.

jck
jck

what is Twitter? I have MySpace... Facebook... WAYN... TR... you mean I now need... TWITTER?!?!? Gosh...I am so antiquated :^0

MSM
MSM

at the risk of sounding sexist, how many women look at a guy's tool box and think, "oh my god, what a waste of time and money?" if you know what you're doing, Twitter is pretty darn useful - it's not the most efficient tool all by itself though. it takes some effort to get to know its capabilities and some trial and error to find the right "accessories" to make if effective for your specific uses... by the way, i AM a woman and i have a decent tool box in the garage so don't flame me...

pworlton
pworlton

Twitter...what a complete waste of time. You're more likely to misunderstand something in 140 characters than understand it. I'm all for blogs, white papers, tutorials and the like, but twitters seem like a monumental waste of time...unless you happen to be a stalker, and then I believe it is the perfect tool for the job!

alexgrech
alexgrech

Good list. In the true spirit of sharing, just tweeted this! @alexgrech

gotmink
gotmink

140 charactors - doesn't seem like nearly enough.

Andrew Mager
Andrew Mager

Looks like 2100 people care :) Also, about 100 people responded collectively to those things you just mentioned. Welcome to the social media world.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

There's a lot of negative comments about your choices, but only two people have posted links to other Twitter pages. Both of them were only links back to themselves.

apotheon
apotheon

In my experience, Enderle is a hack and a fraud -- and he's as much a "maverick" who doesn't go along with the crowd or the hype as McCain (who voted for the first pork-laden deficit spending bill and used his insider status to get the Republican nomination) is a "maverick" who opposes pork and doesn't follow the Republican neo-con crowd. In short, they're both frauds, of much the same caliber, but they sure do talk themselves up a whole lot. It's not "the crowd" Enderle doesn't follow -- it's common sense. The "crowd" he follows is, it seems, the people who are most likely to buttress and bolster his career.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

140-char lmt 4ces ple 2 use odd spelngs 2 get ther msg acrs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Sat on @$$ for two hours during pre-flight. Man, that sucker's got a kick. Someone needs to make Tang; not my turn! Oprah, schmoprah... That cheese and onion Burrito Grande was a mistake. Made faces at Hubble; LOL!

mike
mike

One is definitely more likely to misunderstand something in a 140 character burst and they definitely won't get any in depth understanding. You are more likely to quote or use something you read on Twitter incorrectly and regret using Twitter to start with. Blogs are a good source of communication, Twitter is good source if misinformation and a great way to waste your life, 140 characters at a time.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

on a global scale. I often hear about breaking tech news on Twitter before anywhere else. If you follow the right people you can also get inside information that you won't find in blogs, whitepapers, and news sites.

Marcelle Green
Marcelle Green

I was reading how some people gain 20-60% of their business from using twitter. Make those tweets count.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Let the record show that I was not the first to post a negative comment. I've got one on stand by, but I'm going to see if someone else makes my point for me.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

How many of those 2100 are from TR? How many of those 2100 added you in the hope you'd add them, in their unfathomable pursuit of a high number of followers? Do you really believe all those people check up on you on a regular basis? How many of those 700+ you're following do you actual read regularly? How many of them can you name without checking your 'Followers' list? How many have you interacted with beyond simply adding them, or being added by them? If this is the social media world, I can see no reason to be welcomed to it. I can't think of anyone about whom I would care to know this kind of minutia. Too Much (Useless) Information. But maybe I based my initial opinion on a series of less-than-stellar posts. Regular readers of Jason's posts on this topic will tell you I don't understand the appeal of Twitter, either as a poster or follower. Tell me why you think a total stranger would be interested in reading your Twitter page on a regular basis.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Yes, technically I am on Twitter. No, I don't update it. I tried it once in the spring of '08 for a couple of hours. I found I had nothing to say that I thought would interest me as a reader, and if I couldn't interest even myself then I didn't see any way someone else would be interested. I tried again for a week in late summer '08. In addition to relearning that I had nothing to say, the longer trial period allowed me to discover that I -HATE- the 140 character limit. It took me longer to edit a post down to size than the activity I was describing took in the first place. I see many describe it as a great way to generate business. I'm not self-employed, so that isn't a factor for me. If I was interested in posting technical tips, I'd have a web log where I could express myself without a character limit. (No, I don't have a web log. Tried it, hated it; I've got a diatribe here on TR somewhere on "Why I don't blog".) My admittedly limited experience indicates there's nothing that appeals to me about any of the "Web 2.0 social networking" utilities.

TBBrick
TBBrick

Which is why I was initially interested in the post. In the mean time, I'm looking for the twitterers who don't post drivel every 20 min. When they do post, hopefully it's something useful. Which incidentally has changed how I post on Twitter.

chained1
chained1

i dont have a top 10 in fact ive barely begun using it myself..ive now made 10 posts offering useful tech info i think, i am called chained on twitter if you wish to see my posts or follow me.can techrepublic write up how to find useful posters or info? ps I believe im onto the next massive website idea so soon ill begin posting on the steps i take to start the business. venture capitalists who want in better get in touch asap

santeewelding
santeewelding

As does, "monitor". I should pay no attention?

apotheon
apotheon

Is "stalking" the word you want?

apotheon
apotheon

I find that the lineup of Weblogs I follow has grown organically. I start by checking out what someone I already know something about is writing (e.g., someone here at TR, for instance). If I like it, I keep reading it. When links appear that lead to others' writings, I see if I find the linked piece interesting -- and if it's interesting enough, I check to see if the rest of the person's writings seem to be interesting as well. It grows from there. Every now and then, as the general quality of my found Weblogs increases, I weed out some of the stuff I've had in my RSS feed for a while that just doesn't measure up to the average, or hasn't stayed relevant to my interests somehow. In short, I found most of what's in my RSS reader pretty much the same way I found most of the Websites I have bookmarked in my browser. Twitter, on the other hand -- I have a hard time imagining myself getting into that. I like a bit more depth than can be had in 140 characters, or whatever the limit is.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Just another feature of your local full-service IT department. Drop by more often.

thisisfutile
thisisfutile

OH, thank you for posting this. It's strange, the level of comfort one can receive just knowing they aren't the only one thinking something.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...it's simply a way of using the people you trust to help sort through the information overload in the world (and I realize that sounds very ironic)." Indeed. To me it's just another 'information' source that's 99% chaff, 1% grain. Like the abundance of blogs, I haven't developed tools to filter it. Combine that with the sheer volume of material and I quickly become frustrated by my unskilled efforts to locate anything of personal interest or value. It's like trying to find something in the Library of Congress without a card catalog, Dewey decimal system, or knowledgeable librarian; and four out of five books are the personal diaries of the terminally boring.

master_mind_mittal_001
master_mind_mittal_001

I am completely agree with you Murdock. Twitter can bring business if you keep helping others and post useful/productive twits. And you even don't have to try for that people get along with you on their own. Such a nice way to meet new people that's relevant to your business. :)

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Twitter is still developing as a community/social tool. It's definitely still in beta, but I still use it to find lots of valuable information. To me, it's simply a way of using the people you trust to help sort through the information overload in the world (and I realize that sounds very ironic). The @username is a reply to a specific person. Unfortunately, the links to go back to see what post someone is responding to don't match up very well. I usually just click the person's username and then try to see what they were responding to. RT = Retweet. That's when you copy someone else's post (usually a link or something significant) and send it out to everyone who hasn't already seen it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Time for my semi-annual attempt to understand this tool. I still don't see how a conversation works. Let's use your own Twitter page as an example, if you don't mind. "@harrymccracken: Just keep doing what you do! Look forward to seeing your updates from the Google Earth today. 26 minutes ago from Power Twitter" I understanda post beginning with an '@' are replies to someone else's specific comment. I thought I could click a link to see that comment, but none of the links "from Power Twitter" loaded for me even after several minutes. "RT: @mkrigsman ?18 billion UK IT scandal http://tinyurl.com/c2dq87 about 1 hour ago from web" There's an '@', but no link back to the poster or his / her original comment. Am I mistaken about the use of the '@'? What's "RT"? Is there a way to jump to the start of a series of '@' links? I'm apparently not able to make sense of a conversation read backwards. When I am able to access the post that prompted a reply, many times the linked post appears to be out of context. On those occasions when the preceding post makes sense in terms of the reply I read first, the post before that one rarely makes sense in terms of the original post that sent me wandering down the garden path. It's almost like the link goes to a random post on the referenced page, not the one being replied to. I think Twitter management needs to do a better job of documenting how to use it effectively. I've found the help links to be very basic introductory material, but many of the conventions aren't mentioned.

ceo
ceo

Depending on what you're doing on it, it's either a waste of time like reading some emails or it's highly productive. Basically any tool on your computer can be either productive or a timewaster. Personally, my wife and I have gotten business and speaking opportunities off of Twitter and it did not take effort on our part other than a few (less than 20) messages. At 140 or less characters each, I'd say that was highly productive as these engagements mean several thousand dollars in our respective pockets. Some people feel 'left out' of the game on there. It's a social network. Be social, don't sell everyone that comes your way, provide valuable information and watch the business come your way without your asking for it. Michael Murdock @docmurdock on twitter ceo@docmurdock.com

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

To help target who you read, so you don't waste time on the uninformative? I found the article very useful, although not in the way Jason intended. After visiting each person's Twitter page, I noticed almost all of them had links to their web logs. I then visited each web log and bookmarked or subscribed to the interesting ones. Is there anything more useless than a Twitter post saying, "I just updated my blog!" If I'm interested in your web log, I'm already subscribed.

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

that there will be lots of other things sailing across twitter too. Having made the list of Techrepublic Authors on Twitter I was surprised to see all the "is now following you on twitter" emails coming in. Also wonder about twitter-ers who havent any posts and just follow lots of people... join the conversation, it will be fun.

james.rector
james.rector

You may find a nugget or two on twitter, however I would wagger that it was not worth the time it took to find it. Seems to me that it is a great way to be non-productive.

Violetw
Violetw

I don't believe that anyone gains any business from twitter, not unless they link in their business blog. I think that the myriad of 'ponzi scheme' twitters SAY they gain business from twitter, hmmm, maybe they DO gain business from the 'twits' who have a twitter account (you know, the people we BLOCK??) and actually believe those 'get rich quick' schemes.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

as in "some people". I'm sure it's a great sales tool for some types of business; I await a list of them.