Working out who to follow on Twitter can be daunting. In part one of a two-part series, we recommend "tweeps" for new and seasoned users to follow. Some are familiar faces, others less well known, but they each contribute to the social web - with laughs, expertise or encouragement. (Read part one here.)
If the Kiwi Twittersphere were a family lunch, Wendy Lester - better known as Wendy Wings - would be the kindly relative who refuses to take a seat until she's sure everyone's comfortable and having a good time. She has a particular interest in the entertainment world and is the person to follow during awards season, though she's likely to suggest people switch her off if they don't want by-the-second updates on the red carpet and ceremonies.
* Tweeted: "Hands up New Zealand if you are pretty sure Trevor from Te Kauwhata is your long long lost cousin/brother from another mother. Thought so."
* Followers: 4508
Rachel Goodchild has worn a few hats in her time, but is known best as a relationships commentator and as an expert on parenting and early childhood behaviour.
These days she tours the country speaking to early childhood educators and parents about how to manage children in those tricky, formative years.
* Tweeted: "You know what I found out in the last year? (Slow learner). 'If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.' Actually is true."
* Followers: 4280
* Following: 1400
Although his bio appears to loudly decry the presence of yet another comedian on Twitter, Chris Brain was one of the first New Zealand comedians to come to grips with the medium. A Billy T comedy award winner in 2009, Brain launched his Twitter account in the same year. He excels in punching out the kind of witty and well-timed one-liners that the "retweet" button was made for.
* Tweeted: "Hey, kids on scooters. They're only scooters so lose the false sense of cool entitlement."
* Followers: 1137
* Following: 444
South African-born Urzila Carlson is already well-known to Kiwis after a number of one-off TV appearances. She is best known as a regular guest on TV3's 7Days and is a familiar face on the Kiwi comedy circuit. Carlson takes her followers with her on tour, using Twitter to share stories from the circuit as they happen.
* Tweeted: "Sometimes I sit in a gig and it feels like I've stumbled into a support group."
* Followers: 391
* Following: 152
"Opinionated, occasionally bossy rule-breaker with an inability to sit still," states the bio on Twitter. It's true. Jenene Crossan hasn't really sat still since she came bursting out of the blocks with nzgirl.com 13 years ago. She was only 21 at the time. Years later, and with the creation of two significant digital brands - nz girl and Flossie - under her belt, Crossan has gained respect for her willingness to take risks and meet challenges with a smile. Crossan shares her proactive attitude and mentor's spirit with her correspondents on Twitter.
* Tweeted: "Well that's interesting - our Pinterest referrals on nzgirl are now level pegging with Twitter. It happened in less than 3 months."
* Followers: 2075
* Following: 1931
There are plenty of business experts on Twitter, but few make the white-collar world as accessible to the lay reader as Liam Dann, the Herald's business editor.
A Cantabrian working from the newspaper's Auckland base, Dann demonstrated a strong interest in the South Canterbury Finance saga and its effects on the people of Timaru. He kept a wise head even as his parents' home collapsed during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, paying respectful mind to the human tragedy while putting the economic recovery-to-come into its correct context.
* Tweeted: "Headline says: 'Greeks approve crucial austerity bill' ... although judging by the blazing skyline, approval was not universal."
* Followers: 1259
* Following: 564
Paul Brislen, tech junkie, is also chief executive of the Telecommunications Users' Association of NZ, but his Twitter feed isn't a stream from the big kahuna's chair. It's pure, unadulterated Brislen - and that makes for an interesting account to follow, particularly for people who want to understand technology and the associated rules and regulations.
A journalist by trade, the Waikato University alumnus worked for a number of publications - including a year reporting on all things tech for the Herald - before taking the helm at Computerworld and ultimately moving on to a senior communications position at Vodafone.
* Tweeted: "And so off to my morning session: cyber-security capability building. Am gonna sit by the Homeland Sec guy and copy off him."
* Followers: 2366
* Following: 1452
"If you read just one book about social media, it shouldn't be this one" reads the blurb accompanying Tweet This Book, a guide to brand-building in social media written by a clever fellow named Vaughn Davis. Of course, you should read the book if that is your thing, because Davis has written it with the same creative spark and bent humour he brings to his Twitter feed. He admits the oddness in being a "goat-farming, ex-military-pilot, advertising creative director" but by making it the reason you should download - and then tweet - his book, he acknowledges, with a wink, that it's a very interesting combination of experiences.
* Tweeted: "After six months divided by a 7 wire fence, our potatoes and our lamb were finally united tonight. In the Weber, then on a plate."
* Followers: 4388
* Following: 3669
Hours after the first major earthquake struck Christchurch on September 4, 2010, Mike Dickison wrote a blog post titled "Christchurch rocks", and it detailed 13 things he had learned that day. "It's actually possible to have an earthquake this severe not kill anybody," he wrote. "We're not a third-world country. Hurrah."
Dickison eventually relocated to Auckland this year after sticking around "through bloody-mindedness".
* Tweeted: "If the Anglicans had only figured out a way to play rugby in the Cathedral, it would have been rebuilt by now."
* Followers: 778
* Following: 119
A barrister and solicitor, John Edwards has been practising law for more than 20 years and has worked for the Privacy Commissioner, State Services Commission and other official agencies.
On Twitter he describes his interests as information law - "a category I made up" - which includes issues such as freedom of information, copyright, privacy, and social media.
* Tweeted: "The thing @StephenFry doesn't realise is that here in Welly good bandwidth means Fat Freddy's Drop distributed across a broad stage."
* Followers: 871
* Following: 1645
There are some facts that people with even a passing interest in Dominic Harvey's life have at least a little knowledge of. They might know that he is on The Edge FM's breakfast show with his wife, Jay-Jay Feeney. They might know that the couple have fought for years to bring a baby into the world.
And they might know how Harvey collapsed during the Auckland Marathon in 2005, courtesy of a benign tumour found in his aorta, and that the growth's removal spelled the end of the couple's hopes of conceiving naturally. That's the serious side of Dominic Harvey, but it makes his humorous side - on air and on Twitter - that much more appreciable.
* Tweeted: "So it's top of the T goes before me eh? I'm sitting at an uncontrolled T intersection but just wanted to tweet before proceeding."
* Followers: 15,044
* Following: 2491
Working at the Guardian in Britain before he returned to New Zealand to become the Listener's Internaut columnist, Toby Manhire was a one-man social media revolution during the 2011 election. He led the Listener's interactive coverage with his running blog and the @listenerlive Twitter account.
His efforts were summed up by one blogger: "Big ups to Toby Manhire at Listener Live - man it's a useful resource."
* Tweeted: "Topical joke. Q. How many diplomats does it take to change a lightbulb? A. Murray McCully."
* Followers: 1404
* Following: 458
A former United States correspondent for Television New Zealand, award-winning investigative journalist Tim Wilson has also had articles published in the New York Times, the Guardian, and other respected journals. He recently returned to New Zealand after an 11-year stint in the US, where he travelled around the country from his New York base.
Wilson has a tweeting style that is as irreverent as it is insightful.
After years of writing short fiction, and a short film, he released his first novel in 2010: Their Faces Were Shining was welcomed with positive reviews.
* Tweeted: "Since I've been back, I've been drawn into approximately 13 (largely unironic) high-fives. When did NZ start high-fiving?"
* Followers: 1825
* Following: 302
A co-host of Prime's The Crowd Goes Wild since it kicked off in 2006, Andrew Mulligan has built a large following on Twitter thanks to his insider's view of sport and his willingness to jump into discussions with fans online.
His vociferous support for the NZ Breakers in the ANBL and Hurricanes in Super Rugby is endearing (in the latter case, perhaps only to Hurricanes fans) but he's equipped and ready to banter with anyone about almost anything. In addition to his Prime slot, Mulligan is a breakfast host on The Rock FM.
* Tweeted: "Warriors always suck in March too. Need Luck. Literally."
* Followers: 8550
* Following: 1743
Meghan Mutrie began 2007 as a key member of the Canadian women's 15-a-side and sevens rugby teams, before a serious head injury ended her career and left her suffering from the effects of brain damage.
After five years of recovery and education, the witty and charming Mutrie is now beloved in her adopted home of New Zealand as a reporter on Prime's The Crowd Goes Wild, and respected as an international rugby ambassador.
* Tweeted: "At Hurricanes training and there is a lot of the three letter F-word happening. Along with contact work. What a paradox."
* Followers: 3705
* Following: 98
A regular on TV3's current events comedy panel show 7Days, as well as a popular restaurant reviewer and food blogger, the talented Jesse Mulligan knows the way to filling a punter's belly with laughter and dinner.
* Tweeted: "Sometimes at 7Days they're like 'what are we going to talk about that's topical?' And I'm like 'Caulis are sub-$2. How topical do you want?"'
* Followers: 2367
* Following: 461
In addition to being the social media frontman for nzherald.co.nz, Troy Rawhiti-Forbes advises the Herald's editors, journalists, and APN stablemates on how to use social media to bring themselves closer to their audiences, and vice versa.
Rawhiti-Forbes has an interest in using social media to cover news events, particularly in collaboration with the public. After last year's Christchurch earthquake, he was in the city's eastern suburbs, armed with no more than a smartphone and a plan to draw the nation's attention to what was going on beyond the shattered CBD.
You can also blame him for the term "Marmageddon".
* Tweeted: "I was going to get in on the 'Brand y'self by removing a vowel from your name' thing a la Tumblr, but in my case it'd just reek of effort."
* Followers: 1015
* Following: 721
Since the earthquakes began shaking the land in Canterbury, Adrienne Rewi has been telling the region's story of struggle and survival though text and images.
On Twitter, Rewi has shared several snapshots of the post-quake state of her city. Rewi doesn't shy away from calling things as she sees them.
* Tweeted: "Out walking. New catchphrase on Christchurch real estate signs. 'Solid & Tidy'."
* Followers: 2357
* Following: 697
Twitter has brought out the best in people who not only have specialist insights, but the interpersonal skills to share them in a friendly and considerate manner. One such tweeter is Juha Saarinen, who has over two decades' experience as a consultant, journalist and commentator. He appears across a range of online and print publications, including the Herald, and is the editor of the NZ Computer Society's Newsline.
* Tweeted: "Isn't the whole point of smoking that you as a direct action misanthropist give cancer to everyone including yourself?"
* Followers: 5907
* Following: 5002
Sideswipe comes but once a day (or twice on Fridays, if you catch the online weekend edition) but its author, Ana Samways, drops plenty of giggles and groaners into her tweet stream.
* Tweeted: "7.28pm last night:'What's a prick, Mum?' ... 'Ahhhh ... it's a prickle, like from a thistle'."
* Followers: 3684
* Following: 272
Megan Singleton is a one-woman force in travel journalism, and it seems she's been everywhere - both in publications and around the globe.
If you're stuck for something to do overseas, Singleton would relish an opportunity to be of help. It's a spirit that's clearly in keeping with one of her proudest personal achievements: co-founding NZ's Random Acts of Kindness Day in 2005.
* Tweeted: "It's actually very easy driving a houseboat the size of an apartment down the Murray River."
* Followers: 2599
* Following: 2422
Hugh Sundae has a list of broadcasting credits and accomplishments which stretches as far as his famous sideburns.
Now nzherald.co.nz's entertainment editor, he began his media career as a teenager at Auckland's bFM student radio station before finding mainstream fame as a reporter and host across a range of TV3 and TVNZ programmes.
Sundae, who received his broadcast name more than a decade ago as a joking play on "really insane" names in the news media "like Tony Veitch and Karen Pickersgill", uses Twitter, as well as the Sundae Sessions and Make My Movie, to promote Kiwi musicians and film-makers.
* Tweeted: "Second headphones broken this year trying to negotiate my stupidly big head. Manufacturers: stop discriminating against plus-size heads."
* Followers: 2841
* Following: 831
The political arena is well-suited for Twitter, and the Herald's deputy political editor Claire Trevett has a ringside seat from which to experience the best cutting and thrusting. She shares the best of the parliamentary bun fights with her followers, as well as reporting on and dissecting the serious matters.
Trevett came into her own on Twitter during the 2011 election campaign, and wherever the newsmakers were, she was there with her thumb on the smartphone. Her profile page serves as a kind of visual diary for some of the funnier moments from the election trail.
She is also known to occasionally surface as an enthusiastic participant in the growing Kiwi pastime that is "watching TV on Twitter", where dozens of people get together in the virtual space and offer bits of praise, humour, scorn, and hear-hear while onlookers try to make sense of it all.
A bit like Parliament, really.
* Tweeted: "The PM arrives for his second beating of the retreat of the day: this one is scheduled."
* Followers: 940
* Following: 272
Do you remember Jay Pryor, the pro-whaling activist? Paul Henry will never forget him.
In 2010, the controversial TV host had Pryor on TVNZ's Breakfast show to discuss the announcement of a pro-whaling petition. Henry said Pryor's position seemed plausible, and there was a website and press release to back him up. It wasn't until he realised his interviewee was demonstrating a lack of knowledge on-air that Henry realised something fishy was going on.
"Jay Pryor" turned out to be comedian Guy Williams, now known as the mastermind of the "Great Breakfast Hoax". After reaching the final stage of the 2008 Raw comedy search, Williams toured the New Zealand comedy circuit. He can be seen in TV3's The Jono Project.
* Tweeted: "I'm going to the Breakers tonight for the first time; I'm not even on the bandwagon, I'm dragging in the dirt behind the bandwagon."
* Followers: 1913
* Following: 206
Peter McLennan made you-get-it-or-you-don't music with the genre-mashing rock band Hallelujah Picassos in the late 1980s and early 1990s before moving on under the alias Dub Asylum. He is also an accomplished radio DJ, and can be heard on Base FM and Kiwi FM.
Flicking through his tweet stream is a somewhat similar experience to browsing through someone's record collection.
* Tweeted: "Ryan Gosling rumours started by radio station - desperate for ratings, much?"
* Followers: 2648
* Following: 1438