The net and of course Twitter itself has been flooded with the news that Twitter has reached the age of five.

Let’s not forget it still lags way behind Facebook in terms of traffic and popularity, but it’s still massive and has been a phenomenon in generating media awareness and racking up scores of influential and connected users. And it’s hard to argue with a billion tweets a week.

I’ve been on it since 2007 when setting up an account as part of a talk on technology trends I was giving, illustrating the ease and democratisation of publishing on the web. I’ve maintained only a watching brief until the last year when the critical mass of people and purpose made it into a valuable tool.

I still maintain that it’s difficult to say anything of substance in less than 140 characters beyond a news flash, but the network as a whole creates its value and substance. With data overload restricting my RSS feed reading, it’s become a useful if at times random source of news among my network.

It still badly needs better filters to hone in onto the stories and updates that are of relevance to you, not just in terms of subject but also in terms of time when yesterday’s tweets dissolve into the Twittersphere. But as we learn how to use it, its value grows and those filters will evolve over time as the much hyped ‘social search’ and ‘social news’ start to become more than buzzwords and more part of daily life.