04/24/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

My First Day on Twitter

After four decades of writing in at least paragraph form, I finally joined, if that is the right word, Twitter yesterday. Presto: I already have over 190 followers, which makes Jesus, with 12, look like a piker. As Marvin Gaye sang, "How tweet it is to be loved by you." But it's the news scoop aspect that impresses me so far.

It was about time I signed on. I came across an online article just yesterday that stated, "Twitter has jumped the shark." It was dated March 25, 2007. Perhaps it is still in mid-air two years later.

So what happened yesterday?

For one thing, I discovered that another Huff Post blogger, who happens to work in my building in NYC, was recommending to everyone a Vietnamese sandwich shop in the nabe -- and I quickly replied that we ought to meet there for lunch some day.

At least three former online employees here at E&P, and a well-known writer who worked for me at a magazine 25 years ago, found me and are now true (if not necessarily rabid) followers. Also, three former interns tackled me. A former Hollywood producer I interviewed nearly 30 years ago did, too. A guy from The New York Times. Plenty of strangers. And so on.

Plus a bonus: I found out about the Christopher Walken page, which you simply must visit. L.V. Beethoven, too. And that guy Jesus now has more than 2,000 followers.

Why did I do it now? For one thing, I wanted to test it as a tool for E&P before committing the rest of the staff to it, singly or in a group twit. And I am amazed with the practical results so far. I have found numerous news tips on Twitter updates. Yesterday was a horrific day in the newspaper biz, with far-reaching furloughs and others cuts announced, and some of the twits I am following had the news first.

I then took those leads, contacted staffers to do full stories, tweeted quickly to "break" the news for E&P fans, then put up on our site the staff articles that in some cases were still scoops. All because of Twitter.

Later, at night, I found a few more quirky things that I linked at our blog. Meanwhile, I've already posted a couple of dozen tweets on subjects ranging from media and politics to film and music.

I've generally been dismissive of Twitter as a further dumbing down of our discourse and journalism but now I see, at least from the first day, the useful side - if you are in the news business. Frankly, I still don't want to know what you had for lunch. Unless you work in my building and want to do Vietnamese.

You can find me here.
Greg Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher. His new book is "Why Obama Won."