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Can Twitter Lists save the social network?

Twitter-lists1 Twitter recently rolled out a new feature called Twitter Lists. It's a way for individual users to curate lists of people based on, well, whatever they like. For instance, you could make a Twitter List of entrepreneurs in your city, your funniest friends, celebrities, et cetera.

This sounds like a simple feature. But I think it will fundamentally change Twitter for the better. Here's why: the social network has been experiencing serious problems over the last year as it's popularity and growth has exploded, specifically with spammers and marketers trying to "game" the following/follower system. There are tools, applications, tricks and scripts readily available that anyone can leverage to get tens of thousands of new followers overnight.

Twitter Lists, I believe, will return us to the Twitter we first fell in love with, reinforcing quality over quantity. For instance, if another user deems you list-worthy, that instantly carries more weight than a one-click "follow." Now, when you're screening new followers, you can check out how many lists they are on in addition to how many followers they have. As you know, 10,000 followers on Twitter today doesn't necessarily mean what it did in 2008.

Lists will be integrated with their API, meaning that third-party applications like Tweetie, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite will be able to pull the data and push it into their services and products. There's already a Web site devoted to lists of lists, called Listorious.

In my first few days of playing around with the new feature, I've started a list of Des Moines East Village businesses, Des Moines entrepreneurs and people I've hung out with at conferences.

Ryan Lynch told me this weekend that he's advising clients to create lists of followers who are actively engaged with their updates. For instance, you may have 1,000 followers, but wouldn't it be nice to have a separate bucket for the 100 people who are frequently interacting with your business? Maybe this becomes a list of 100 V.I.P. customers over time.

How will you use Twitter Lists to your advantage? Please leave your thoughts below.

Nathan T. Wright is the founder of Lava Row, a social media education, consulting and strategy firm based in Des Moines' East Village.


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Great points Nathan... and I do agree with you.

Twitter needed something that would ignite that fire once again, they needed a feature that would get the twitterverse excited. I think the lists feature can be a huge benefit for all kinds; personal and for small to large businesses. I personally have held back on following too many people for the simple reason that it's hard to have a quality relationship with 1,000's of people in real time. The lists will help alleviate some of that problem. Granite having a solid relationship with 1,000's of people is still non existent but the lists feature will help organize it and will be easier to follow by genre. e.g. location, marketing, friends, etc.



I have only created one list to date, a list of DSM Tweeters. I incorporated that list in a Widget on my Blog so my readers can also see what DSM Tweeters are speaking about on Twitter at the same time as reviewing my Blog info. This is a great function and something I think Twitter was missing.

Great article. I use lists more than anything to weed out the noise. I am amazed (although I shouldn't be) that so many Greater Des Moines tweeps are on so many lists. We sure have a great community here.

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