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How lists may change the Twitter landscape

Annie Wakefield
Digital Marketing Manager
19 October 2009

Twitter cupcakes In all honesty, I don’t make the most of Twitter when it comes to all its features and uses. I prefer to follow people, while limiting the number of people I allow to follow me.

In this regard, I prefer Twitter to Facebook, because Twitter allows me a little view into the world of a person I may not already know – without me being forced to return the favour (as with Facebook where communication is so very public and very much a two way street) and this brings with it the sort of anonymity I prefer. Facebook, on the other hand, has lots of handy privacy features and so on, so I can limit what people can see on my profile and so on.

One thing I don’t like about Twitter is that I can’t sort the people I follow into groups (as I can on Facebook) – this would be very handy for me, because then I could sort those I follow in work related groups, education related groups, fun, frivolous groups and so on…

There is in fact already an app called Tweetdeck  which allows Twitter ‘tweeple’ to split their friends into groups, but this is only an app and not a Twitter feature. So when I heard about the new Twitter lists feature I sat up and listened. The feature allows you to group users you follow together and then lets you share those for others to also follow, and acts as an alternative to its Suggested User List option.

Because the feature is still in limited testing, and hasn’t been rolled out to all users yet, I haven’t had a chance to use it for myself, but from what I’ve heard the feature sounds pretty cool. So what sort of impact will this new feature have on the Tweeting landscape? After reading up about it left, right and centre, and having a little think, I came up with these suggestions:

  • Users will follow a lot more people. Well, I will: if I find a couple tweets I like on a list, I will probably follow the whole list, because it’s easier. This will open up a whole new can of tweets and allow me to follow even more people without having to actively look for them by name. For example, I can now look for lists of other copywriters and follow them…easy.
  • New search mechanisms will appear and directories may become obsolete. Why search through directories when you can just access your lists?
  • What kind of lists you are on will be far more important than the number of people who follow you. If you aren’t on a list you’ll be out in the cold…
  • Which means that spammers may suffer: grouping will  encourage search within groups, which could help users to weed out spammers and only include authentic tweeters

Does anyone reading this have any more suggestions? How do you think this feature will impact Twitter?



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