Those problems aside, the following 10 public figures have managed to turn Twitter into an effective personal and professional platform:
Armstrong "tweets" on a variety of subjects ranging from a stolen bike to what song he's currently listening to. For those convinced that the seven-time Tour de France winner is a humorless, goal-driven machine, some of his missives toy with that image: "Just took a shower. Got it down under 10 mins. Whew."
The former Monty Python comedian updates his Twitter site frequently and actually seems to respond to his followers. While Twitter's 140-character limit allows little room for one of his iconic rants, he does manage to place the occasional zinger.
Former vice president and Nobel-winning environmental crusader Al Gore updates fairly infrequently, but when he does, it's generally to provide his followers with a micro-dose of climate crisis.
The PC guy in Apple's "I'm a Mac" ads, Hodgman's comments range from what's going on backstage at the Daily Show to wishing his audience a "Happy Canadian April Fool's Day."
The storied filmmaker and the crown prince of weird updates his followers regularly on art exhibits, the weather in Los Angeles and whatever idea happens to be ambling through his brain at that particular moment. "Thought of the day: 42 seconds is a long time."
Another politician to embrace Twitter as a way of extending his message online, McCain is notable for having conducted a well-publicized Twitter interview with George Stephanopoulos (another Twitter-er).
An occasionally stream-of-consciousness, frequently comedic Twitter page, plastered with Superman logos and missives such as "I'm lookin foor u mark Cuban," has the basketball star winning points for distinctiveness.
Although the president employed Twitter as a campaign tool, providing frequent updates from the road, his last "tweet" on March 25 directed users to a White House site to ask questions about the economy.
The "governator," or at least his assistants, uses Twitter to provide a constant stream of governing updates. The "tweets" are heavy on information ("57 infrastructure projects with $625 million Fed stimulus funding will create 11,000 new jobs in CA") but light on corny puns or spectacular explosions.
Martha Stewart takes breaks several times a day to update her followers on filming, cooking and other day-to-day aspects of keeping her brand running. "I write my own tweets," she defends at one point.