Twitter, as all Twitterworld now knows, launched its Twitter Lists feature a couple of weeks ago. Between travel, the flu and work, I’ve had little time, until now, to play with lists, but I like what I see. And it’s changing how I use Twitter.
Some advantages are obvious:
- Twitter lists let you group and sort similar followees. For example, my @allanjenkins/iabc group, where I follow 230+ IABC members, chapters and regions, and my @allanjenkins/travel-tourism list, where I track other tourism professionals. Two very different groups, both important to me.
- Twitter lists are like tags: you can put anyone you follow into several groups. For example, I have put @connectbyhertz (The Hertz Company’s customer outreach Twitterers) into the @allanjenkins/travel-tourism list and another (private) list where I track companies using Twitter for customer engagement.
Now, the desktop and phone client Tweetdeck has long offered grouping. But if you are grouping on Tweetdeck, you will need to "know" your followees pretty well… you will need to know that @crescenzo is in corporate communication and @LPT is, too, but @theseboots has nothing to do with @themurr, who writes the Writing Boots blog. That makes grouping tedious on the desktop and horrid hell on the iPhone (the two do not synch).
With Twitter Lists, though, you can use the Twitter Friends Bio At A Glance Greasemonkey script (if you use Firefox). With that, you get a list of followees (and followers) with a full profile appended. Makes it a breeze to bang people into different lists… even if you follow many hundreds. And, because the lists live at Twitter, not your desktop or phone, you get one stop shopping.
- Twitter lists let you follow other people’s lists — in effect, letting others who know more than you curate and edit lists you are interested in.
But what I love about Twitter lists is that you can list anyone, not just those you follow…
- You can stop following people and organizations you are just tracking. For example, a few days ago, I was following over 1000 twitterers. More than 100 were companies, IABC chapters, news organizations, etc, with whom I would never have a conversation on Twitter…. I was just watching their stream. But Twitter lists let me move them to a list, where I can still track them, then "unfollow" them in my Twitter stream. Instantly I dropped nearly 200 followees, cleaning up my timeline.
- When new followers follow you, you don’t have to make a snap decision about allow/followback/block/blockspam… you can just toss them in a list and let them prove their worth.
- You can list people you are considering following… again, a probationary thing.
Just some early thoughts on Twitter Lists… but I think it’s the best improvement ever from Twitter.