i Editor's Letter: Our Twitter 100 list is out — and to celebrate, I've started tweeting


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The Independent Online

We hope you enjoy i's second annual Twitter 100 Report in today's issue.

Now, now, you sceptics, do not turn away. Bear with (as Miranda's friend might say). Like it or not, Twitter is an increasingly important part of our modern-day communications. It is also different from Facebook in that it is emerging as a real news tool.

This was made all too clear to me last summer as I followed the riots in my Croydon birthplace from a Sky and BBC-less hotel room in Amalfi. It is not yet wholly reliable, I grant you, but these are the early days of the medium. There is nothing I know of in the mainstream media that can bring us the same degree of hyper-local information at such short notice.

Thus, it was via Twitter that I learnt that the Reeves furniture shop was ablaze. It was also via Twitter that I heard that rioters were marching up my Ma's street brandishing Molotov cocktails – which turned out to not be true at all. That said, how many times in the 24/7 news age has the rush to be first led even the most respected TV news channels to be wrong? I really can only see Twitter becoming more important both in this regard, and as a genuine narrowcast medium.

So, I can learn both matchday and other news from @FulhamFC, real-time London travel information from @TFLTravelAlerts and most vital of all, Italian cooking tips from across the Atlantic via my old friend from the school gates, the great New York chef @Mariobatali.

I actually joined Twitter three years ago, but did not know what to do with it. I have tried following a few names recently just to get the hang of it, and have been pleasantly surprised by @Joey7Barton in particular! It has to be said, sometimes Twitter can be about what isn't said, as much as the actual tweet. So, at about the time we found out that James Murdoch was resigning from News International yesterday, @rupertmurdoch himself tweeted: "Now they are complaining about R Brooks saving an old horse from the glue factory!"

An obvious change from last year's Twitter 100 Report is the rise of more celebrities to the top of our list. To a degree, this is inevitable. They can use their exposure to promote their own agendas. Sigh! If you can't beat them, join them. So, from today, I too will be tweeting, largely on behalf of i . I am NOT the official mouthpiece however, that's @TheIPaper. Tweets are my own. Follow me at @stefanohat