Since Twitter's inception, it's been looked down upon as a place for self-centered technophiles to share the mundane details of their lives. We at Lifehacker know better than that, though—here are our favorite ways to turn Twitter into a useful tool, without becoming one yourself.
We've shared some of our non-breakfast related Twitter uses before, but over the past few years Twitter has evolved, grown more popular, and we've just discovered more clever and productive uses for it. Some of these you may recognize, but even the ones we've discussed before may have been updated, so be sure to check them all out if you're looking to upgrade your Twitter usage.
We already know the internet is a great tool for the unemployed (or just unhappy at their current job), but you can actually find a good number of listings on Twitter. We've talked about how to do this with free service TweetMyJobs, which lets you pick the field your interested in and get real-time Twitter updates of job listings you might be interested in. Furthermore, reader AlphaGeeknotes that you can just search Twitter for the hashtag#jobs, and perhaps a hashtag for your industry or city. You'd be surprised at what you can find. Again, it certainly won't be your only resource, but its another good one to add to your arsenal. Photo remixed from an original by Janet McKnight
7. Get Up to the Minute Updates on Your Favorite Software
One of my favorite Twitter uses is following my favorite software developers and finding out immediately when they update. Whether it's big programs likeFirefox and XBMC or smaller ventures like Adium for the Mac, I've never gotten a faster notification than on Twitter. Not only will you find out as soon as a new update is ready, but you'll find out about the cool stuff coming up in future versions, nightly builds, and sometimes even handy tips you didn't know about.
6. Use it as a Quick-Access Cloud Notebook
If you aren't using something like Evernote, that doesn't mean you can't still use Twitter's quick-post nature as a notebook—reader Epell says its a great place to jot down ideasas soon as you think of them. Just protect your tweets, disallow discovery of your account by email address, and use it as your own personal notebook. If you're the more introspective type, you can use it as a short-post journal, too—whether public or private.
5. Discover News and Articles You Otherwise Wouldn't Have
Using Twitter for news is hardly a new idea—following accounts like @cnnbrk are Twitter 101 (plus, if any news starts breaking, the other folks you follow will probably be quick to talk about it). What I find especially cool about Twitter is that I find news and articles I otherwise wouldn't have discovered. Since you can follow anyone with just a click, you probably end up following more people (and a more diverse group of people) than you would on, say, Google Reader. As they tweet out interesting links (or retweet others you don't follow), you might find articles or blog posts that weren't hugely popular, but still useful or interesting. Sure, at a certain point this can get more "noisy" than helpful, but this is why you should routinely unfollow people to keep your feeds clutter-free.
4. Get Alerts and Inspiration on Pretty Much Anything
Aren't sure what you want to make for dinner tonight?@cookbook can give you a bit of inspiration with her 140-character recipes. Not sure what's good on TV tonight?@TVGuide can give you some ideas. There are a ton of Twitter accounts out there that send out useful alerts or inspiration for things in your daily life. Other examples includepreviously mentioned@queuenoodle, which alerts you to expiring movies on Netflix Instant, or @amazonmp3, which keeps you alerted to the best deals (and all the free tracks of the day) on Amazon MP3. Your local businesses might also have some cool accounts, too—a few of the local bars where I'm from will tweet out special drafts that aren't publicized anywhere else, so only their followers know to come in and ask for it specifically.