Here are 3 not-so-obvious reasons to use Twitter.
1) Is it just me? Using Twitter search, you can quickly determine if a web site is having an issue, or if other customers of a particular company are impacted similarly. Is gMail down? Did you just hear a loud boom?
2) Sentiment: with just a simple :) or :( added to your search, you can find Tweets that may indicate satisfaction (or lack thereof) for a particular brand, person, or service. Twitter isn’t looking for the emoticons per se, but they have a dictionary of positive and negative phrases to identify such comments. If you’re responsible for reputation in your company, this is a “real-time Yelp” opportunity and helps you get ahead of a potential PR issue. And it helps you find your happy-customer case studies! Want even more power? Try this site for even more analysis.
3) Obscure links: want to watch a live broadcast but can’t locate the stream link? Search on twitter, someone has likely shared it.
You don’t have to contribute to Twitter to benefit from it. Have you found an unusual benefit of the service? Let us know.