PR & Social Media Tips | Using Twitter's New Tool


Twitter has grown rather quickly over the past few years, which is often apparent through their frequent server overloads. However, it seems they've taken a progressive step forward and created a new tool for Twitter users: lists. While initially used/tested by a select few, they've expanded the testing groups to include more accounts. (I recently created another Twitter account for a different venture, and was automatically given the option to create lists.)

Essentially, lists are a way for you to organize the people you follow into groups (or lists) that will then only contain their tweets. Lists serve as a sort of filter. Say you'd like to only read some gossip and you follow a few celebrity gossip tweeters, you can add them to a list you created and titled "gossip" and read only their tweet timelines. For example, I tried out the feature and created two lists of my own.

The image to the left shows the small changes that have come about from the addition of lists. For example, there is a "listed" count next to your followers and following counts. This number indicates lists that you've been added to by other users.

Another feature of this tool: you can follow lists that other users have created. This allows you to not have to follow everyone in the list, but still read their tweets. You can add people from the lists to your own list of users that you follow, but you can also opt not to.

Under the search box, you can see the lists you created and lists that you are following. Clicking on these links opens the lists so that you can see the selective tweets from your own or other's lists.

As Twitter states, lists are "[a] great way to organize the people you follow and discover new and interesting accounts."

There are a few different options to creating a list. 1) You can create a list by clicking the drop-down menu next to the name of a user you are already following, and choosing "New list".

2.) Or, create a new list from the homepage (after you sign in). At the top, there is an option to create a new list.

Once you choose one of these two options, give the list a new name. (As a default, your lists are set to be public, but you can change that to private.) After doing so, go back to the list of people you follow, click the drop-down for managing lists, and your newly added list will appear there. Browse other users' lists, keep building your own, and play around with the new tool.

While the functionality of lists is still a bit hazy to me, I can definitely see the value of reading tweets from a specific group of people, and see big potential in the ability to find new accounts that I may otherwise never be exposed to, unless I sift through the users others are following.

Sine there seems to be no moderation of the lists just yet, following another person's list can be an "at-your-own-risk" sort of thing. Also, assuming that the user who grouped and created these lists is accurate in their description of the people within the lists can be a bit of a stretch. But, using your best judgement, you can stumble upon some worthwhile people (and lists) to follow. I find it pretty simple to sift through the not-so-useful (but still entertaining) tweets that I see as a result of following a few people, but still see the value in finding other lists. Being in the beta stages of testing, there are bound to be problems and changes made.

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