I've been playing with Twitter since the last CTO breakfast. Interesting to go back and look at that post and realize it was before Kathy Sierra stopped blogging. Since then I've had a number of people ask me about Twitter, what it is, why it's useful, and so on.
Right now, I think Twitter is more useful as an example than a tool. I've learned something about how networked applications can create a sense of presence that goes well beyond IM.
The group of people who are my friends on Twitter right now are all people I know (I don't go in for adding people just to add them), although none of them were people who I was in close contact with day to day. I saw them once every month or two, caught up, exchanged occasional emails, and sometimes IM'd.
However, since being on Twitter and being frequently updated on the goings-on of their lives, I've come to feel much closer to them. For example, I care that Phil Burns is going to have to spend all night installing servers tonight. I feel sorry for him. I would have always had empathy for him, but I didn't know. Now I do.
Part of the reason groups work is because they work together. One of the hardest parts of building virtual organizations is that you lose all the subtle, incidental interactions with people that cause you to feel connected with them, form bonds with them, care about them. Twitter has shown me that some of that can be done electronically--something I would have never before supposed.