Twitter recently introduced a new feature called lists to many users. This isn’t available to everyone – I’ve heard many reports of people who are unable to see anybodies lists. Basically, it allows you to organize the people you follow into several different categories. These can be made private and can be followed by others.
This is an awesome for those who are using the web interface as you can choose the groups you want to read at any time.
However, there are some considerations you need to make before embracing this feature.
1. People may be offended by not being included on a list.
Some of my friends created lists like ‘awesome friends’ and ‘top bloggers.’ They used these terms as generalist lists but some people took offense at not being included on a list.
This is very similar to the follow/unfollow situations that happened before people started to embrace groups on other clients.
So, what can you do to avoid offending?
• Have a disclaimer on your twitter landing page
• Make your list private
• Organize lists by geographic region – ie, Melbourne bloggers.
2. You can see what lists you appear on
This isn’t a bad aspect – in most cases, it helps show how people perceive you. This is especially helpful for people who don’t have a defined purpose on twitter. You may get categorized by geographic region or industry, but you may also get organized into trait specific lists. Examples are ‘helpful people’ or ‘interesting links.’
This can help you ascertain how you can be more useful on twitter.
3. You can easily get the tone of a group
You can organize people into groups like conference attendees or people who work at a company. This is more efficient than a hashtag as you can filter out the people you don’t want to hear from.
You can pick up on the overall vibe which will make it useful when reporting on it.
4. It may make it easier for companies to target you
I actually wrote about how twitter lists can help with buyer personas over at the Think Tank Media (http://thinktankmedia.com.au/blog/how-to-use-twitter-lists-in-your-business/) blog, but I can also see it as another way some companies may be able to find, and then spam you. This is important to be aware of.
5. You can easily identify what types of people users follow
Seeing the lists in the sidebar can let you know what type of people, and content, certain users follow. This can be useful when networking. You can see that you have a mutual interest and follow some of the same people and start a conversation. This can be useful if you are trying to join a community or connect with a new person.
6. You can use it as an extension of the groups function
I’m a bit slack on tweetdeck – I only have three columns. One for my mentions, DM’s and one for a group of people I talk to regularly. I always pop onto the web version to have general chats but this can become unmanagable when I’m following so many cool people.
I’m now planning to create certain lists and then dive into them at certain times of the day. This can help me assess the conversation across many fields of interest and geographic regions.
7. You can see how many lists OTHERS are on
This may be used as another method of assessing popularity. As I write this, I’m on 2 lists and Chris Brogran is on 144 – which is the way it should be. This could be a really useful method but is also open to abuse and may impact on user experience. It will be interesting to see if spammers try to manipulate this feature.
8. You are able to follow other peoples lists
I am not sure what twitters intentions were with this feature, but I really like it as it saves time. Some users can also use it to establish authority by finding the best users and creating popular lists around them.
Over to you
What do you think of this new feature? Do you think it will help you twitter experience? Let us know how you intend to use it in the comments.