10 Mac tweeters not to miss

From tech celebs to hidden gems, our Mac expert names 10 sources whose Apple-related tweets he couldn't do without.

Who knew that "140 characters or less" could change the way people interact? For many, Twitter has become an indispensable way to tap into breaking news and insights.

Beyond using searches and watching the trending terms to see what tweet topics are hot, the key to a happy Twitter experience depends on whom you follow. Whether you're just beginning to use Twitter or looking to add more voices to your stream, following the right people can turn seemingly random, unrelated tweets into a useful flow of news and commentary on favorite topics.

If you're a Mac fan, you'll quickly find that there are a lot of Apple-focused tweeters out there. As a Mac expert and aficionado, I thought I'd share a few who I've found to be worth my Twitter time. Here's a list of 10 tweeters, both well-known and obscure, whose Mac tweets keep me informed and engaged. In this list, a tweeter's popularity is less important than the usefulness of his tweets.

For those of you who are concerned about excessive tweeting, I've included for each tweeter in my list a "follow cost" (as determined by Followcost.com, which calculates the average number of tweets per day overall and the average per day for the last 100 tweets). As you might suspect, follow costs fluctuate frequently, but the numbers included here should give you a good idea of how many tweets per day to expect.

@Ihnatko -- Andy Ihnatko

Andy Ihnatko's Twitter bio reads "Technology Pundit and Internationally Beloved Industry Personality," a description that's right on the mark. When Andy's not writing about technology for the Chicago Sun-Times, he can be found voicing his opinions about gadgets, software and everything else in technology podcasts and television appearances -- and, of course, on Twitter.

Well known for his fondness for Apple gear and for his offbeat sense of humor, Ihnatko was even accused of being the writer behind the Fake Steve Jobs blog before Dan Lyons 'fessed up.

What makes Ihnatko great to follow is the blending of his unmistakable style, humor and passion for the technology under his microscope. While his comments aren't always Apple-based, considering Ihnatko's status amongst tech geeks, he's worth the follow.

Follow cost: 8.52 tweets per day all time / 6.37 tweets per day recently

Recent tweets that have caught my eye:

Turning off notifications of your number of unread emails is like putting black tape over your "Check Engine" light.

I instituted a new music library policy today: when a CD attains Double Plus Love Status, I re-rip it as Apple Lossless.

It's 12 days after Apple's announcement and "iPad" is STILL a trending topic on Twitter. Apple just might have something here...

@siracusa -- John Siracusa

If you don't follow freelance tech writer and Web developer John Siracusa, then you've been missing out on some of the harshest, most meticulous, most thoughtful looks into Mac OS X as the operating system has evolved. Of course, while Siracusa is particularly well known for his thorough analysis and deconstruction of all things OS X, he's been known to publish a thought or two well worth reading on other topics.

Follow cost: 5.31 tweets per day all time / 4.37 tweets per day recently

Recent tweets that have caught my eye:

@codinghorror Mac Pros are high-margin, but they're also very nice inside and out. It'd take a lot of skill to build its match for less.

@jnack Also, I did say "If you need a reason to be optimistic about Adobe's Cocoa port of Photoshop, look no further than Lightroom."

Every iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad sold is another tiny arrow fired into the hulking colossus that is Flash on the web.

@danieleran -- Daniel Eran Dilger

Daniel Eran Dilger is a San Francisco-based consultant who runs RoughlyDrafted, a Web site dedicated to analyzing technology, specifically as it relates to Apple. He's well known for calling out the tech pundits he disagrees with, and for his often lengthy and detailed analyses regarding anything that stems from the halls of Apple headquarters. From a dissection of Apple's server strategy to Ten Myths of Apple's iPad, RoughlyDrafted is a treasure trove of Apple information.

Dilger doesn't tweet as often as the others on this list, but when he does, it's usually a link to breaking Apple news or interesting commentary.

Follow cost: 0.99 tweets per day all time / 1.39 tweets per day recently

Recent tweets that have caught my eye:

AppleInsider | Apple issues extensive report on supplier responsibility http://ow.ly/1pbypN

'If you annualize our quarterly revenue, it's surprising that Apple is now a $50+ billion company.' -- Steve Jobs

Apple sold 3.36M Macs, 21M iPods, and 8.74M iPhones in the last quarter. $15.69B in revenue, $3.38B in profits. >1M Macs were news once.

@cberkeley -- Carl Berkeley

Straight from his Twitter bio: "Carl Berkeley writes a Mac Users Guide which offers the latest news, reviews, how-tos and expert opinions on everything Mac users need to know." That aptly sums up his tweets, which generally feature reviews, news, rumors, and useful hints and tips for Macs and other Apple products.

Follow cost: 4.65 tweets per day all time / 6.75 tweets per day recently

Recent tweets that have caught my eye:

Did you know you can use iChat to show a Keynote presentation, video or slide show? Learn more about this feature http://ow.ly/15u5x

Need help? Check Mac Users Guide videos for how-to repair tips and tutorials http://ow.ly/159yp

Remember to clean your iPhone, unplug all cables and turn it off. Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth. Don't use household cleaners.

@9to5mac -- 9to5Mac

Run by "a loosely assorted group of Mac managers and Macintosh business enthusiasts," 9to5Mac is a site dedicated to Apple rumors and tidbits. (Although 9to5Mac co-founder Seth Weintraub blogs for Computerworld.com, the site has no affiliation with Computerworld or its parent company, IDG.)

As the 9to5mac Twitter bio states, "We break Apple News," and that rather succinctly sums up most of the tweets. Other tweets cover deals on technology, Apple tech tips and tricks, and general technology news. If you're looking to be as up-to-date as possible -- and get juicy Apple rumors -- this is one account to follow.

Follow cost: 6.47 tweets per day all time / 14.39 tweets per day recently

Recent tweets that have caught my eye:

Just had a 30-min screencast of new Quicken for Mac. Looks nice but I'm spoiled by Mint.

New Post: Adobe's CTO Kevin Lynch says Flash performance on Mac will improve (Flash Video... http://goo.gl/fb/w0zP

New Post: 9to5 Five: Mac essentials for healthy digital living: There's as many ways to use... http://goo.gl/fb/bvnu

@macworld -- Macworld

This would be a cop-out entry if Macworld were not such an informative and useful feed for Mac users to subscribe to. But it would be a shame not to mention one of the best Mac tweeters on the grounds of its obviousness. (Macworld is a sister publication of Computerworld.)

Macworld's Twitter feed is a great starting point for folks who wish to maximize their education-to-noise ratio. The tweets are mostly Apple product-based, but there are occasional tweets about interesting news in the PC sector. To keep up with everything that's going on in the world of Apple, Macworld is a sure bet.

Follow cost: 1.81 tweets per day all time / 1.98 tweets per day recently

Recent tweets that have caught my eye:

Ben Long explains how to build your own Drobo-like media server http://is.gd/7HmJm

Here's more info on Aperture 3: http://bit.ly/cMyZnK

Mac OS X Hints: Customize the root shell's prompt in Terminal http://is.gd/8KW4q

@feedmyapple -- apple correspondent -- and @awtisa -- awtisa

Making up for the obvious Macworld selection, here are a couple of lesser-known Twitter accounts for those who want to know every scrap of information that leaks out of Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. I've found that by following these two in concert, I rarely miss a Mac story worth reading.

While Apple-focused, these feeds occasionally dip into other news as well, from music to Google's Nexus One smartphone to the Fox TV show Glee. However, if you absolutely want to make sure every bit of Apple news gets to you via Twitter, add these two to your follow list.

@feedmyapple follow cost: 44.01 tweets per day all time / 35.40 tweets per day recently

Recent @feedmyapple tweets that have caught my eye:

Get a TUAW discount on Mac theft recovery service from hidden http://bit.ly/bXGNUW #Apple

Mac users damn, defend Microsoft's 'ribbonizing' of Office 2011 http://bit.ly/dt4EfP #Apple

Current MacBook Pro Models Deleted From Best Buy's Inventory System? Updates Imminent? http://bit.ly/cC94l2 #Apple

@awtisa follow cost: 39.87 tweets per day all time / 45.95 tweets per day recently

Recent @awtisa tweets that have caught my eye:

Apple Planning Smoother Transitions Between Graphics Processors in Upcoming MacBook Pros?: AppleInsider reports th... http://bit.ly/awPEwa

Sharing data between your Mac and iPhone: The iPhone to me is less phone, and more of an extension to computing. ... http://bit.ly/cdENLX

What's that menu item mean on my Mac? Filed under: Mac 101 Ever since you've started using your Mac, you've been ... http://bit.ly/9RlPgK

@robpickering -- Rob Pickering

Rob's bio tells us he's a "Technology geek and IT VP with interests from SCUBA to Macintosh and iPhone to UNIX and World of Warcraft." In other words, he fits right in on this list. His tweets are mostly about technology, with many focusing on his Mac and software for the Mac.

Follow cost: 2.12 tweets per day all time / 2.08 tweets per day recently

Recent tweets that have caught my eye:

Experts weigh in on Mac vs. PC Security (http://bit.ly/awUOpC) - Yes, Macs are more secure. #Security

I installed Click2Flash into Safari, it hasn't crashed or locked up since (http://bit.ly/bvmbLT) #OSX

Installing Windows 7 into Boot Camp under Mac OSX (SL) (http://bit.ly/b679R1) #Macintosh #Windows

@michaelbshane -- Michael Shane

Michael Shane is a self-professed Unix and Mac geek, but his tweets aren't limited to those two subjects. From commentary on iPhone apps to links to photography on his Web site, Shane's posts cover a wide variety of topics and moods.

Follow cost: 7.71 tweets per day all time / 7.13 tweets per day recently

Recent tweets that have caught my eye:

People who think the #iPad should run a full version of Mac OS X are elitists who assume anything with a circuit revolves around them. Fail.

Watching a talk from TED on my iPhone I was thinking that were I on an #iPad I wouldn't be able to compose this tweet simultaneously. Hmm.

My wish for the supposed #Apple press event later this month? Aperture 3 please. Pretty please. With crack on top.

@pa930 -- george

This recommendation comes with a bit of a warning: I don't know who george is, and my (basic) attempts to find information about him didn't turn up anything useful. (His bio says, "tech tech tech apple tech tech [apple icon] tech tech [apple icon] tech apple tech tech tech apple, and other...") George is obviously an Apple fan, but he doesn't appear to be affiliated with any specific technology company, and not all his tweets are about Apple technology.

His tweets are occasionally humorous (some have made me laugh out loud), and a good number of them link to interesting news bits. Be warned, however: If you're sensitive to offensive language, I would avoid this one.

Follow cost: 8.26 tweets per day all time / 15.93 tweets per day recently

Here's the series of tweets from george that won me over:

The iPad will be great in the future.

Downloading the last Apple keynote... 1.05GB but OK

I'm definitely gonna wait until the next generation of the Apple iPad. They'll add a ton of newer stuff into it.

After a few minutes had passed, I assume spent watching the keynote:

It is official

I want an iPad

Bonus: IDG Mac tweeters I follow

For the rest of my Apple news, I follow a select few folks whose comments, insights and links round out my Twitter experience. I chose not to include them in the primary list because they're all closely affiliated with Computerworld or its parent company, IDG. If you can forgive them that, they're worth your time and attention.

@ScotFinnie -- Scot Finnie is both editor in chief of Computerworld and a recent convert to the Mac platform. I find his perspective unique and a fair representation of all platforms.

@kmingis -- Ken Mingis is the managing editor of news for Computerworld -- and a huge Mac fan. Generally, Ken's posts are the retweets of Computerworld's own news stories, but there's enough personality thrown in to make it an entertaining add.

@ryanfaas -- Ryan Faas is a freelance colleague and frequent contributor to Computerworld whose articles I very much enjoy reading.

@jsnell -- Jason Snell, currently editor of Macworld, has been providing Apple fans with news and commentary since 1994 at MacUser.

@mdeagonia -- Michael deAgonia And, last but not least, me. If you like this article, go ahead and follow me.

Michael deAgonia, a frequent contributor to Computerworld, is an award-winning writer, computer consultant and technologist who has been using Macs and working on them professionally since 1993.

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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