One of the lessons the media has learned, albeit slowly, is that many readers don’t get much farther than the subject line of an e-mail newsletter before they decide whether to open it and read it or not. That doesn’t leave a lot of room to grab people, but the challenge is akin to that facing Twitter users everywhere.

The social networking service allows 140 characters to capture a key message, and for most of us that usually amounts to a status update on where we are at in our data, or a mention of an interesting article with a TinyURL link. As Mark Evans recently pointed out, this means you have to be selective about whose Twitter postings you follow, because they add up. He’s managing around 200. I’m only at 100, but I’ve been on Twitter far less time than he has.

I find most of the feeds from analyst firms like Gartner useful, as well as those of other major news sites, and I do use some feeds to keep track of my competitors. For IT managers that are just getting on Twitter or who are going through a Friend purge, here are a handful of users that either offer some diversion, link to great content or provide some of their own.

1. Bruce Stewart: The best. Philosophical, erudite, and remarkably articulate, his Tweets are the closest we have to true micro-essays.

2. Ray Wang: One of Forrester Research’s finest analysts gives updates on his work within the business software space.

3. Andrew McAfee: The man who coined the phrase “Enterprise 2.0.” His Andy Asks series of Tweets fosters real conversations about business and IT through Twitter.

4. TimBray: The co-founder of Open Text and Sun’s director of Web technologies keeps up with everything interesting. A great feed to read in between his Ongoing blog posts.

5. WebHaiku: Okay, it’s a little weird, but it shows more creativity than most people manage in a full blog post. Great entertainment value.

Of course, if you want to follow me, I'm at And I'd be interested in any recommendations of other IT execs who have joined the Twitterati.

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