Silicon Beach: Twitter Lists
|Twitter lists promise to be a nifty new feature.|
Twitter Lists lets you organize those you follow into categories. The title of the list and whom you put on it is entirely up to you. Twitter Lists can be public or private.
Are Twitter Lists really useful?
Let's look at some pros and cons:
1. Lists can cut out noise. As in real life, so on Twitter. Sometimes you have to put up with people who don't shut up about things you don't want to read. You might love having cocktails with your buddy, but maybe he's annoying as hell on Twitter. The solution: Put him on your "Jackass" list and keep it private so you won't hurt his feelings.
You can already do this on applications such as Tweetdeck by setting up groups, but now you'll be able to filter obnoxious people on Twitter.com. This might also come in handy when you have friends who sell shit on Twitter. You adore them, but you don't want to see their thinly veiled sales pitches.
2. Lists could make Follow Friday obsolete. The purpose of Follow Friday (hashtag #ff or #followfriday) is to let your new followers see which Twitter accounts you recommend and why. This is all fine, except of course when you keep recommending the same people week after week to the same people over and over again. Twitter Lists could end this hamster wheel cycle. One long, neat list is better than a million repetitive tweets.
3. Lists that make you go hmm. When creating a list, you inevitably begin asking yourself questions such as: "Why in hell am I following this guy? Did we hook up? I don't even remember his name!" Again, as in real life, so on Twitter. A well-managed list of meaningful contacts makes for a richer experience. Taking the time to sift through your list is good housekeeping. Think of it as a social experiment and ask yourself: "Who really fits into my Twitter life and why?"
4. Lists make it easier to schmooze, connect, and get 411. A well-curated list makes it easy for you to recommend folks. Let's say someone tweets "Looking for a good South Florida portrait photographer." Point them to your photographer list and -- voila -- one of your contacts might get a new gig. Lists could also make it easier for people with similar interests to find each other. And several media outlets, including Huffington Post, are putting out useful lists for hunting down conversations about particular topics.
5. Lists are a reflection of you. As a social tool, Twitter Lists can let others know at a glance what kind of company you keep, which is faster than browsing long follow lists in no particular order. In other words, your lists say something about you, not just about the people you follow.
1. Lists take forever. By far the worst thing about the Twitter Lists feature is that it's so damn time-consuming. If you follow a lot of people, you might need a part-time assistant to set up just one list. Scrolling down your follow list and clicking "add to list" one account at a time is like plucking instead of shaving.
2. It don't mean a thing if you aint got that API. Right now, you can benefit from using lists as a filter only on Twitter.com. This is OK, for example, if you've set up a list with a few people you want to catch up with at the end of the day. But as soon as developers get their hands on an API (that's geek talk for "application programming interface," which lets one program "talk" to an other), conversation filtering could be available on your favorite Twitter app.
3. Room for improvement. Currently, you can't add a brief description to the list, but if you could, people would know a little more about who's on the list and why. This could be especially useful for dudes. "But honey, all those porn stars I follow are for entertainment purposes only!"
4. More is not necessarily better. Use Twitter Lists wisely. Randomly following all the accounts on someone else's Twitter list is not necessarily a good practice. Good Twitter experiences are based on introductions and relationships that build slowly but surely over time. You wouldn't place rotten strawberries with the plump, juicy ones, would you? Give it some thought before putting all your pickin's in one basket.
5. Lists turn nice people into mean girls. "Who's who," "top ten," and "best of" lists can be so high school. If you're not on someone's list, don't mope like the cheerleader who didn't make the squad. And if you are, don't gloat like the meanie everybody loves to hate. Remember, someone with a biased opinion was behind the creation of that list, and it wasn't Jesus, who loves everybody, right?
6. Protect your cred. Currently, the only way to automatically remove yourself from other people's lists is to block them. If you don't want to be on @exboyfriend's "All the Women I've Given Herpes To" list, you need to eliminate him from your Twitter life, even if things are cool between you two.
To keep up with news on Twitter lists, follow Twitter's blog. There's also a new site about to launch called Listorious (@listorious), which claims to sort through the best of Twitter. Although this can be a useful guide, remember this: The only person who can determine your best Twitter follow list is you.
Have you begun using Twitter Lists? Do you love it or hate it? Please comment below.