Unless you've been living in an undisclosed location without Internet access for the last 24 months, you've probably heard about Twitter. For the uninitiated, Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows users to post messages of 140 characters in length or less.

Several of the biggest news stories of this last year have been broken by Twitter users posting notes (and links to images) from their computers and mobile phones, including the tragic 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Flight 1549 landing in the Hudson, and the recent (and disputed) Iranian presidential election.

A fair number of people in the IT space have joined Twitter over the past year or two, so I've taken the liberty of assembling a short list of Twitter accounts you should consider following. There's nothing scientific about this list, and the ranking/numbering is entirely arbitrary and meaningless: You shouldn't think of the first entry in as the "best" Twitter feed, but rather the first one I started writing about.

If you have some favorite IT feeds of your own, feel free to add them as comments to this blog post. You can also drop me an email at jjames@windowsitpro.com, or contact me on Twitter at jeffjames3, and I'll add your suggestions to an updated version of this listing in the future.

Top Tech Twitter Feeds

1. Mary Jo Foley
Twitter account: http://twitter.com/maryjofoley
Website: All About Microsoft

In an era when barely-literate blogs and Twitter feeds are dominating the digital landscape, Mary Jo Foley manages to provide a relentless stream of accurate, entertaining, and rigorously vetted news about the goings on at Microsoft. If you're looking for real IT journalism from a trusted source, Mary Jo provides that in spades.

2. Long Zheng
Twitter account: http://twitter.com/longzheng
Website: I Started Something

A twenty-something student living in Australia, Long Zheng is the creator of I Started Something, a blog that provides timely news and commentary on Microsoft and the products that it produces. Long has a habit of looking at Microsoft news and products from a unique, original perspective, which makes his Twitter feed an attractive read for anyone interested in the latest from Microsoft.

3. Walt Mossberg
Twitter account: http://twitter.com/waltmossberg
Website: All Things Digital

Walt Mossberg primarily covers consumer technology news for the Wall Street Journal via his All Things Digital blog. Walt has been covering consumer technology since 1991, and his quest to make sure that IT companies keep the average end user in mind when designing their products has helped him garner many fans (and a few detractors) along the way.

4. David Pogue
Twitter account: http://twitter.com/pogue
Website: Pogue's Posts

David Pogue writes about technology for the NY Times, and has a Twitter feed that boasts more than 500,000 followers. Like Walt Mossberg, Pogue writes for a consumer audience, but IT pros should find lots of value in his expert reporting about computers and consumer tech. Explaining complex concepts in a way that average computer users can understand them is Pogue's forte, and has earned him a legion of fans.

5. Jeff Atwood
Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/codinghorror
Website: Coding Horror

Ever heard of a community site for developers called stackoverflow.com? If you're a programmer you probably already have, and you can partially thank Jeff Atwood for that. Atwood was one of the founders of stackoverflow.com, the recently-launched serverfault.com, and the soon-to-be-unveiled superuser.com. All three are free, Q&A-oriented community sites that let IT pros and developers exchange information and solve each other's technical problems. Jeff's twitter feed is a great way to stay updated on the progress of these impressive new IT resources.

6. Paul Thurrott
Twitter account: http://twitter.com/thurrott
Website: Paul Thurrott bio page on Windowsitpro.com

Call me biased on behalf of a colleague, but any discussion of the best tech-related Twitter accounts wouldn't be complete without mentioning Paul Thurrott. In addition to being the news editor for Windowsitpro.com, Paul runs the Windows Supersite and boasts one of the most active Twitter feeds in the industry. Paul also tends to automatically follow everyone that follows him out of politeness, and spends lots of time answering tech questions posed by followers. Need proof? Head over to search.twitter.com, enter "thurrott" as your search term, and see how many replies and answers appear.

7. Ina Fried
Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/inafried
Website: CNET Blog: Beyond Binary

Covering a company as large and diverse as Microsoft can be a difficult job for any single journalist, so seeking out multiple sources of reliable information is a must. Ina Fried has been covering Microsoft for years, and regularly provides unique insights on the goings on at Redmond.

8. Brent Ozar
Twitter account: http://twitter.com/brento
Website: Brent's Personal Blog

In addition to being the Editor in Chief of SQLServerPedia.com, Brent also contributed to the development of Stackoverflow.com, works for Quest Software as a Domain Expert for SQL Server, and writes about Twitter, SQL Server, and a bunch of other topics on his personal blog at www.brentozar.com. Brent's website features lots of beginner content for SQL Server newbies, and he frequently replies to queries from SQL Server DBAs on his Twitter feed.

9. Paul Robichaux
Twitter account: http://twitter.com/paulrobichaux
Website: Paul Robichaux bio page on Windowsitpro.com

Mastering the intricacies of Microsoft Exchange can always be a challenge, as this popolar server application has grown more complex (and some would say tempermental) with each product release. Helping IT pros demystify Exchange is something that Windows IT Pro contributing editor Paul Robichaux has been doing for years. Paul also fields questions from readers, making his Twitter feed a popular destination for Exchange admins.

10. Padmasree Warrior
Twitter account: http://twitter.com/Padmasree
Website: Cisco bio page

You could add up the followers of most of the other people mentioned in this list, and it still would be a drop in bucket compared to the massive following that Padmasree Warrior--Cisco's chief technology officer--has on Twitter. As of June 30th, 2009, Padmasree's personal Twitter account had more than 637,000 followers. Most of Padmasree's posts don't deal with IT topics, but her frequent updates and constant dialogue with the community that follows her should serve as benchmarks other IT vendors would be wise to emulate.

Windows IT Pro / SQL Server Magazine Editors on Twitter

You can also find a few Windows IT Pro and SQL Server Magazine editors and contributors on Twitter: