2009 was, without doubt, the year of Twitter. Whether it was the massive hacker attacks that created a massive outage and reminded us of how it has now become an important part of our lives, the interest in both Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses to utilize it as part of their social media marketing strategy, or the phenomenal growth in membership, tweets are now part of our mainstream culture and are the default real-time search results for the likes of Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
I expect Twitter to continue to transform itself into a more useful platform for both businesses and professionals to use in 2010. But there were many excellent blog posts from 2009 containing excellent tips that we can still utilize well into the new year. Let’s take a look back at the greatest Twitter blog posts and tips of 2009.
As with my similar Top 25 Most Useful LinkedIn Blog Posts of 2009, I used a number of factors when considering which were the best blog posts and tips to recommend to you all. Within each section I have ordered the listing in descending order by most retweets at the time of this blog post, which are indicated in brackets. Warning: Those with the most tweets were those listed on Mashable, which in itself guarantees a LOT of retweets. So don’t let that scare you into not reading some of the blog posts that got fewer tweets, as they are of comparable quality.
I tried to limit this blog post to the same 25 that I did for LinkedIn, but considering that a lot of people still don’t “get” Twitter, I thought it was important to add some excellent blog posts which give background on why you should tweet as well as some great tips for beginners. Thus, my Top 25 became a Top 35 list.
On a final note, I also contributed 19 Twitter-related blog posts in 2009, so I have taken the liberty to also sprinkle the below list with top suggestions with tips from my own blog posts for your reference where appropriate.
Need a Reason to Tweet?
How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live by Stephen Johnson [4,921]
If you’re still on the sidelines, please read this classic article from Time Magazine. The article begins with the same sort of skepticism that we all had before embracing the real-time platform, and it ends on a very uplifting note. Highly recommended.
9 Ways Twitter Can Help in the Real World by Amanda MacArthur 
Are you still looking for a reason to start using this hyped social media channel? This clever piece gives you nine different examples of how you can start using it.
How Twitter Was Born by Dom Sagolla [?]
This is an excerpt from the book of the same name. Perhaps by understanding its history you can gain some insight as to why you may want to use it. This is a fascinating piece of history and an excellent read to get a deeper understanding of its roots.
How to Use Twitter to Build Intelligence by Venessa Miemis [?]
A brilliant article which starts out with the question What is Twitter? and slowly creates a masterpiece of an explanation of how it can be utilized strategically once you have an objective. If you are in doubt as to why to begin using it in the first place, please read this article!
10 Ways to be Useful on Twitter by Ryan Miller [1,958]
While providing basic advice on etiquette, I enjoy the positive spin on social networking that the article provides.
Top 10 Tips for Beginners by Sean Ludwig [?]
A very basic introduction to get you started. Only for beginners but an easy read.
8 Useful Tips to Become Successful with Twitter by Paul Boag [?]
Good advice for beginners to ramp-up quickly.
Top 7 Mistakes New Users Make by Mark S. Luckie [?]
As you ramp up, make sure that you don’t make any of these newbie mistakes!
(I also wrote a Twitter Tip #1 for Beginners: Follow Lists Before You Follow People  which accompanied my Twitter 101 with 7 Useful Tips for Those Getting Started on Twitter  blog post, both of which I recommend for beginners.)
Growing and Managing Your Followers
Ten Ways to Increase Your Followers by Kevin Rose [2,319]
The co-founder of Digg speaks out with great advice on how to increase the number of followers.
10 Tools to Organize Your Tweeps by Josh Catone [1,927]
Excellent collection of 3rd party sites to help you organize your followers.
47 Power Users’ Secrets to Getting Many Followers by Jacob Share 
Excellent article comprised of advice from a wide variety of social media rockstars including Dan Schawbel, Robert Scoble, and Ari Herzog.
9 Directories You Should be Listed On by Jayson Yormark 
A concise post with a good list of the top user directories. One strategy to increase your followers is to get found, and making sure you are listed on these directories will help you do so.
27 Tools To Help You Find And Manage Followers by Dainis Graveris [?]
A great list of sites to help you find and manage followers. Great resource to help navigate what is possible using 3rd party services.
(I also wrote a blog post on Twitter Followers vs. Following: What is the Ideal Ratio?  as well as HOW TO: Find Relevant New People to Follow on Twitter  that I recommend here.)
Intermediate Tips and Advice
HOW TO: Use Twitter Lists by Josh Catone [3,399]
Lists have changed the way in which we engage on the real-time social networking platform. This article is a great primer on the potential for Lists.
HOW TO: Retweet by Ben Parr [2,927]
The Retweet seems so simple but actually has significant meaning. Learn not only how to Retweet from this article, but also about the existence of a few applications to help you track your Retweets.
HOW TO: Get the Most Out of #Hashtags by Ben Parr [2,184]
I often get asked about Hashtags when I speak, and I believe that this article explains their use (and potential misuse) best.
How I Tweet by Guy Kawasaki 
You knew that Guy Kawasaki would make it on to every social media-related list, and this time it is no different. This article is a classic in that it shows, in very authentic and transparent terms, how one Pro actually goes through his own work flow. Read and learn!
10 Organizational Uses for Lists by Maddie Grant 
With Lists, you need to think outside of the box. This article gives us some great ideas about how we can begin to utilize Lists to accomplish several different things.
Direct Messages – Best (and Worst) Practices by Kristi Hines 
A great look at the art of the Direct Message, looking at many examples. A must read if you are automating your Direct Messages to everyone that follows you.
(I also wrote a piece on utilizing Lists that I recommend here: 4 Great Ways to Use the New Twitter Lists  as well as a piece on my pet peeve: Should I Send Automated Direct Messages on Twitter? .)
Advanced Tips and Advice
If you have multiple accounts you are already an advanced user. You also realize the limitations of the Twitter.com user interface and why you need to use a 3rd party application to manage multiple profiles. This Mashable article provides a great run-down of the options you have to manage multiple accounts.
Tweeting from the Web? Nine Alternative Web Clients by Orli Yakuel [1,034]
If you are a heavy Tweeter often sharing information from various sources, chances are you are tweeting directly from the Web and not going back to Twitter.com and cutting and pasting. If this is the case, check out this comparison of nine different web clients to help you better manage your tweeting.
15 Free Services to Schedule Tweets by Malvinder Virdi 
Sometimes we want to be there when we’re not. You know, I mean scheduling tweets to occur throughout the day instead of bombarding our followers with multiple tweets at once. We may already be using a service like HootSuite to accomplish this, but you should know about all of the alternatives that exist and pick the best one for you.
The Best Twitter Apps for Your Mobile Phone by Amit Agarwal [?]
You don’t have to tweet on a cell phone, but should be at a stage where you really can’t live without tweeting wherever you are, check out this definitive post on all of the applications that are available for your mobile phone.
HOW TO: Build Your Personal Brand on Twitter by Dan Schawbel [1,569]
Just as with my LinkedIn list, Dan Schawbel earns a spot on this Twitter list for his excellent article on personal branding and tweeting.
(While not a piece solely on personal branding, I did write on How to Use Twitter for Your Job Search  which I recommend you read as well.)
Profile Background Designing
Twitter Background Design How-To and Best Practices by Chris Spooner [1,267]
You can’t have a comprehensive list without something regarding those background images that occupy our profile pages and thus represent a vital part of how we are “branded.” I particularly like this article because it goes through both best practices as well as a hand-holding, step-by-step tutorial on how to create a background using Photoshop. Excellent read.
Effective Twitter Backgrounds: Examples and Current Practices by Saud Kahn [?]
This article gives loads of examples as well as advice to help you design your own background. Just looking at the examples should spark your creative juices into creating something new for yourself.
Unique and Insightful Articles
The Art of Writing Great Headlines by Brian Clark [1,727]
If you want to get noticed, you only have 140 characters in which to do so. Writing an effective headline for whatever you want to say becomes a necessity, and this article gives us some classic advice on the subject.
5 Ways to Get Your Questions Answered on Twitter by Stan Schroeder [1,288]
Tweeting provides a channel for both information as well as communication. Many people ask many questions through tweets because it is the perfect hybrid channel for doing so. If you really want to ensure that your questions get answered, read this great article.
How to Use Twitter Without It Owning You – 5 Tips by Tim Ferriss [?]
Tim Ferriss, the author of the 4-Hour Workweek, gives us tips on how to best optimize our time tweeting. A must-read for every heavy user.
(If you’re reading this far down the list, I am assuming that you are a confident user. At this juncture, you may want to make sure that you are not in violation of any official rules. Read my 6 Reasons Why Your Twitter Account May Be Restricted (Without Your Knowing It)  blog post to make sure.
40 of the Best Twitter Brands and the People Behind Them by Jennifer van Grove [1,194]
An excellent look into the people that tweet behind some of the most famous brands. Great examples for companies to learn by.
62 Ways to Use Twitter for Business by Meryl Evans [1,171]
A concise list with a lot of ideas on how businesses can use the real-time social networking platform.
Twitter Success: You Gotta Show Up by Jennifer Horowitz 
Excellent article on how businesses can and should utilize the social media platform. The author hand-holds the reader through every important aspect of tweeting. A must read for businesses as well as any professional!
(See my post on Twitter Coming to a Store Near You…SOON!  for a further perspective on Twitter’s emergence in B2C marketing.)
Tips, Tools and Applications Compilations
The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter by Angela West [3,201]
An encyclopedic guide. Great reference to complement this blog post.
The Top 21 Applications – According to Compete by Leena Rao 
Sure, there are loads of tools out there (probably hundreds of them), but which are the most popular and thus be those that you look into? This is a list of the top 21 applications as ranked in terms of web hits by Compete.com.
99 Essential Tools and Applications by Paul Andrew [?]
A definitive compilation of the many 3rd party tools and applications that exist.
Just reading through all of these blog posts alone may take you until February! In the meantime, are there any others that you recommend for this list? Please speak up!