A few more thoughts on the not instantly apparent value of our favorite love/hate tool. Trick is, to find the value, you need to leave the site and use other tools.
Here's my favorite: Tweechat.com
Login with your Twitter account there and join your friends, colleagues, team, etc in a real-time, spontaneous chatroom where all tweets are auto-hashed, as well as created and displayed in that tweetchat window. YOUR tweets are auto-posted to your personal stream. I could have actually done without the latter as a group conversation on Twitter can become quite raucous and my running Tweet quick bits don't need to be streamed to my followers. (That sounds so cute, my followers!)
Still, Tweetchat is a fast, effective, easy to dynamically access a chat room and preserve the chat. All you need is to choose a name and everyone is in. The room name becomes the hash tag in Twitter.
So, speaking of hash tags: let's dig in there too. If you want to 'collect' all tweets on a topic when not in a tweetchat, put a # in front of that term and then, we search for that hash tag at search.twitter.com
By customizing a key term using the hash tag, a group can create a common flow and gather all the tweets on a topic. Now yes, search.twitter.com will search on any word, not just hash tags but the value of the hash is being able to label and gather a certain set of posts. Example: hash tags have been used effectively at conferences, where attendees can find, follow, connect to other attendees' posts. Search for "#sxsw09" and check out all the fun tweets that came out of the Austin festival recently.
Twitter as chat room with archive.
Twitter as ...collective sharing of tweets around an event or issue or ...whatever you collectively decide to hash.
New tools mean new uses. These are a couple of little child tools hanging off the mother tool, Twitter. If you know more, or know more uses for Twitter and Twitter children, let us know!