If you are reading this then I can confidently tell you two things. Firstly, that I am grateful for your visit and secondly, that your interest in aviation is matched by your comfort with electronic media; you chose to find Flight Global on the internet.
Ok, I'm not attempting to sell myself a some kind of mystic here and Derren Brown can rest easy knowing that is job is safe and that he could have me empty of mind and pocket as fast as anyone. But the second observation opens a door to a question: Do you, or should you use Twitter?
My friends and colleagues mostly fall into two categories when it comes to Twitter: Those who think it's a way for teenagers to waste away daylight hours and on the other side...., well, seemingly just me actually.
The thing is, it is true that there are a world of people on Twitter who are happy to share with everyone what they are about to eat, or what they think about the bit of navel fluff they have just found. More importantly however, there are the serious journalists, the industry followers, the companies and associations. These are the people in the know.
Think of it like this: I read Flight International for the features and analysis. I take my time with it and go through carefully. I read Flight Global for today's news. I generally do so at lunchtime when I have maybe fifteen minutes to see what's going on in the day. I read the Flight Global blogs, as and when I have a few minutes, to give myself an insight into the stories and for detail that didn't fit the published stories. Twitter is for the hottest information. This is news so fresh that it hasn't had time to be processed into fully formed news stories. On the other hand, Twitter is for pointing you to just published news that you might not have found on your own. Or, again, Twitter is for connecting to the people whose work you read and accept as accurate. Or even, Twitter is for finding the (mostly American) bargain fares that some airlines are ONLY publishing via Twitter.
Getting the most from Twitter is all about filtering the mass of information generated by the World of Users (the "Tweeple" – yes I'm sorry, but I'm afraid there is a simple Twitter patois that can be learnt in seconds). Don't try to follow everyone. Rather, concentrate only on those consistently providing information (Tweets) that you are interested in.To get you started here are a few suggestions (my version of #FollowFriday):
Flight International: @RunwayGirl, @FlightBlogger, @TheDEWline, @jetwhine, @Hyperbola, @TerminalQ, @FlightGlobal.
Associations: @AOPAonline, @UKSBAC, @NoPlaneNoGain
Corporate: @raytheoncompany, @PrattandWhitney, @GE_Reports
Podcasters: @burnsidej and @jackhodgson (Uncontrolled Airspace), @TFPofFlying, @StephenForce (Airspeed)
Aviation Interests: @XH558 (Vulcan to the Sky), @APilotsStory
Aviation Enthusiasts & Journalists: @apgphoto, @787spotting, @PIBoeing, @AVWeb, @AeroNews
And now the words of warning: Twitter is unregulated and un-corroborated. You'll need to take everything you read with a large helping of scepticism. Also, what goes on Twitter stays on Twitter and can't be edited or retracted. When adding your own content use your common sense, as you should on any social networking site. Your employer, your future employers and anyone else who you never thought would be interested can and may read what you write. Check the Social Media policy of your current employer and do not include content that they might object to. One day, it could come back.
And finally, you are more than welcome to follow me (@GeneralEclectic) especially as I've just found a really, really interesting piece of navel fluff that I'd be really happy to tell you about.