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Twitter greatly improved my PDC experiences

Earlier today at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) I talked to Bill Pytlovany (creator of WinPatrol) and Mike Brown (creator of Flow).  Bill P. actually gave me a 1GB wristband with WinPatrol on it.  We chatted for a few minutes about the PDC, the Microsoft MVP program, and the work we do.

Twitter - the latest killer app

Five minutes before our talk I had never met Bill and Mike.  I actually went to the Starbucks at the Los Angeles convention center following a message from Bill announcing he'd give out his wristbands to whoever showed up.  Bill sent this message through Twitter (www.twitter.com).  Since not everyone knows about Twitter, here's the definition from Wikipedia -

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, SMS, RSS, email or through an application such as Twitterrific or Facebook

During the whole conference, I've been using Twitter and searching for the terms #PDC, #PDC08, and #PDC2008.  When I checked, every few seconds, there were 2-3 new messages from folks attending or interested in the sessions and technologies announced at the PDC.  This allowed me to know which sessions from the PDC were now online, get links to blog posts on the latest technologies announced at the PDC, or even get a 1GB wristband from Bill (Channel9 actually gave away tickets to tonight's Lakers game through Twitter!)

I used a few applications to constantly check if there were new tweets related to the PDC:

  • Most of the time, wi-fi worked great at the Los Angeles Convention Center during the PDC.  This allowed me to run Firefox and point it to Tweet Grid, getting new tweets Ajax style.

Tweet Grid - click on image to enlarge

  • Mike Brown mentioned TweetDeck today, an AIR application for the desktop that allows you to view your main Twitter timeline (those who you "follow") and any Twitter search you can think of.  Here's a screenshot with Tweetdeck searches on #PDC, #PDC08, and #PDC2008


Tweet Deck - click on image to enlarge

Twitter is heavily used today by developers and tech journalists such as Leo Laporte (who oddly enough was the first to create a different Twit) and Robert Scoble (who made the mistake of not attending PDC 2008 by choice).  I don't know if Twitter is ever going to become mainstream, but I greatly saw how useful it can be in the last 4 days at the PDC. 

If you don't have a Twitter account yet, sign up for one at www.twitter.com - it's free and you'll love it!

Additional Twitter Resources and Tools -

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