In a new trend somewhere between direct customer contact and the public facing comments lies Twitter.
I'll start with the obvious joke that 140 characters, or roughly 2 sentences is typically the value that you get from analysts. However, my experience over the last year or so is that the analysts that I've worked with (both paid and unpaid) have been extremely helpful.
The Top 10 Analyst Twitter-ers via Technobabble:
1 Forrester - Jeremiah Owyang
2 Redmonk - James Governor
3 Message - Stowe Boyd
4 Hurwitz & Assoc. - Robin Bloor
5 Greenmonk - Tom Raftery
6 Redmonk - Steve O'Grady
7 Redmonk - Michael Cote
8 Forrester - Event Handle
9 Jupiter Research - Michael Gartenberg
10 The451 - Raven Zachary