What the heck is Twitter good for, anyway? While many of us use Twitter, I think it's fair to say that we're all collectively still experimenting with exactly the best ways to use it. Certainly it has evolved from being the mundane "Went to lunch. Had a ham sandwich" into being a channel for passing around news. I've certainly found links through the people I follow on Twitter far faster than I would have necessarily come across them through my RSS feeds. (Mitch Joel has a similar story about the "Twitter News Network".)
But what does a company do with Twitter? How can it best be used as a communication vehicle for a company? Obviously the BBC and others have been using it for news. ZDNet may provide one other answer - they have a Twitter account, twitter.com/ZDNetBlogs, for following their blog postings.
Now, you might say, isn't that the role of an RSS feed? Certainly. In fact, if you go to ZDNet's main blog page, you will see that they do, if fact, have a master RSS feed for all their blog postings (hosted by Feedburner - on a side note, I'm surprised that someone like ZDNet didn't pay for Feedburner's service to maintain their brand for their feed). So the savvy web user could simply subscribe to that feed and be done with it. I'm sure some people do.
But perhaps the point is that for people who come to use Twitter as a "news network", this becomes a way that ZDNet can join in that newstream that people watch. I haven't spent much time analyzing it, but I do note that the ZDNet twitter stream is a subset of the ZDNet blog RSS feed. Is it just certain articles they want to highlight? Or certain blogs within their network of blogs? I don't know... but the net is that they are providing yet another way that people can find their way over to ZDNet's content. And they can see the results... there are currently 106 "Followers" of the ZDNet Blogs Twitter account. 106 people... many of whom are definitely in the "Early Adopter" camp. Not a bad audience to get in front of if you are company with "high tech" content!
Kudos to ZDNet for experimenting with Twitter... I hope it works out for them.