So how did Ponek attract more than 800 followers? Partly it's because he's hip to technology trends and has been using the service longer than almost anyone else in Sonoma County. He joined a few months after Twitter was founded in 2006.

The reason he stuck with it is because he found his groove. His tweets aren't really for mass consumption. He uses it more to consume information than to spread his message or agenda.

"I don't use it as a business tool," he said. "I use it to monitor certain keywords of interest, or certain people."

Ponek uses it to connect with other fans of the business management system Sigma Six and the production method known as lean manufacturing. When he finds an interesting article or Web site about these subjects, he shares it with his followers.

"When developing your KPIs (key process indicators) keep these useful characteristics in mind.," he wrote in a recent tweet.

He says he finds news stories he might otherwise miss, and avoids following people who are always self-promoting.

"If it becomes a feed of too much senselessness, you need to weed it out," he said. "You don't want to follow that person."

And like others, Ponek has found a helpful community on Twitter. When he was looking for the best desktop application to use with Twitter, he tweeted and got a response. Dane Jasper, president of and a total stranger to Ponek, provided him a list.

Ultimately, what makes Ponek an elite Twitter user is this: "I figured out how to use it best for myself," he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nathan Halverson at 521-5494 or Check out his blog at or on