is twitter an important tool for feedback on open source software projects?

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And here we are, my second post in which I mention twitter, and wonder aloud what open source software projects should be doing with twitter. I don't have any well-formed thoughts to foist on you, but I'll tell you about an experiment I've been doing. Last week I started using summize.com to search for conversations about bzr. I did the same thing for ubuntu and for git, but only really stuck with the bzr stream. It's been interesting to see what people are talking about, I've tried chiming in with suggestions when I can or asking for further details when people complain. I think what is so fascinating to me about this is that I'm finding a whole lot of conversations that aren't at the level of a ranting blog post but are encouraging or thought-provoking feedback nonetheless.

I also registered twitter.com/bzr, but I'm not sure what to do with it yet. Suggestions? One idea is to tweet the commits that go to the main bzr tree, along with release announcements. Greg K-H has an interesting twitter stream of his command history from selected terminals. I mentioned this to Martin last week and we talked about making a bzr plugin that would let you tweet certain things (commit messages maybe?).

Several people have drawn some parallels between twitter and IRC. For me, IRC is something that I only respond to in real time. Twitter is something that I only respond to on the same day. Email is something that piles up and tries to kill me. That spot where I don't have to respond in a matter of minutes but things don't pile up over multiple days is a very comfortable one indeed. I've seen a few other projects or companies using twitter in similar ways (VMWare Fusion is an interesting one). Is it worth the effort?

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