Use of the free Twitter micro-blogging service has exploded in recent months, with Twitter users being among the first to report on the Mumbai terrorist attacks and the recent US Airways crash-landing on the Hudson River. In both cases Twitter users broke the story before major news networks were aware of the news.

Twitter launched in 2006, and earned an early reputation as a service that mainly documented the uninteresting details of people who have too much time on their hands. That said, Twitter has also grown and matured into a communications tool with some unique (and very useful) characteristics.

I've personally found Twitter useful for quickly posting commentary (with relevant photos) and providing a quick status report on what I'm currently working on.

Twitter (when used with the Twitpic service) makes it incredibly easy to post photos and short commentary directly from a mobile phone. I've done this a few times already on my own Twitter feed, while my colleague Paul Thurrott has become a master at using Twitter to upload photos with a short commentary along with a Google map indicating where the image was taken.

Twitter is also perfect for quickly updating friends, family, colleagues, and your business contacts on what you're doing right now. For example, if I tweet that I'm working on a story about desktop virtualization, Twitter-savvy PR reps might spot the request and pitch some additional information my way.

These are the things I've found Twitter useful for so far, but what about you? Do you use Twitter in an IT environment? I'd imagine Twitter may be useful for a harried IT pro who is always on the move between remote offices, as a quick twitter update via his mobile letting everyone know his current location would be valuable information. Or perhaps an IT pro could use the services to quickly post photos of an enigmatic error message for a more senior IT professional to examine?

Let us know how you're using Twitter in an IT environment and we'll follow your Twitter feed.Feel free to add a comment to this blog post, or drop me an email at jjames@windowsitpro.com. A number of our publications currently have Twitter feeds, which are linked below.