Twitter Lets You Follow Without an Account
Speaking of Twitter. It announced something this past Tuesday that think is pretty cool, though I can see it’ll be useful for other people besides me.
Now you can follow Twitter accounts without being signed up for Twitter. All you do is text Follow accountname to 40404, where accountname is the name of the Twitter account. I texted follow ncdot (North Carolina Department of Transportation) and got a acknowledgement message back very quickly, followed almost immediately by the most recent tweet from the NC DOT.
I can think of a few accounts I’d like to get on the phone — mostly they’re emergency and immediacy oriented — but I wouldn’t use this too much myself (If I desperately wanted to follow an account and for whatever reason didn’t want to use Twitter itself, I’d probably use the account’s RSS feed.) However, I can see it being great for someone like my mother. She doesn’t have a Twitter account and doesn’t want one, so this would be an easy way for her to follow useful Twitter posts without having to visit Web pages all the time.
The only problem is that it’s sometimes difficult to FIND the most useful Twitter accounts. I’ve found most of mine organically (in the course of regular surfing) but if you want to look I suggest GovTwit (for government Twitter accounts), @Verified (for verified accounts and lots of lists) and WeFollow (for Twitter accounts in general.) See my article Using Google’s New Features to Get Twitter Information for a few extra hints on hunting down useful Twitterers.