Larry Brauner
Last week, Twitter released a beta version of Twitter Lists, “a great way to organize the people you follow and discover new and interesting accounts.”

“Beta” implies that there are still some rough edges, and tweaks are to be expected. It also implies that you might not yet have access to Twitter Lists.

Undoubtedly this article still has some rough edges as well and revisions are to be expected. ;-)

So what are Twitter Lists all about?

Twitter ListsFacebook has lists that let you organize your friends. Twitter Lists enable you to do much more than that. This brand new Twitter tool adds an entirely new and exciting dimension to Twitter.

Twitter Lists presents new targeting opportunities, and may also create new online social networking possibilities. We’ll know more once the feature is fully tested and rolled out.

Twitter Lists Observations

Here are five ways in which Twitter Lists and Facebook lists are similar:

  1. You categorize people and assign them to one or more lists. A person may belong to many lists or to none. The choice is totally yours.
  2. You create and name your lists, and you can edit its name even after the list has been established.
  3. You manage your lists and can add and remove people whenever you wish.
  4. Facebook lists and any Twitter list which you make private are known only to you, the list creator.
  5. You can view status updates and posts that are limited to the people you assigned to a particular list, making it easier to follow categories of people such as family or business contacts.

Here are five ways in which Twitter Lists and Facebook lists differ:

  1. All Facebook lists are private. However, on Twitter you can also create public lists to share with other members.
  2. People can easily tell to which public Twitter lists they’ve been assigned and who assigned them by clicking on the “listed” link on any of their account pages. Here’s my listed link (assuming that you can access it).
  3. On Facebook you can add only friends (or invited friends) to your lists. On Twitter you can add anybody as long as that person hasn’t protected his or her updates. Consider Twitter Lists to be a new method for following people.
  4. You can use Facebook lists to limit access to parts of your profile. This doesn’t apply to Twitter lists. Your brief Twitter profile is public and is visible to everybody, even to people who do not belong to Twitter.
  5. Not only can you view updates limited to the people you assigned to a particular Twitter list, you can do the same with anybody else’s Twitter list which you follow. Once you follow somebody’s list, you can access the updates for that list (as well as any of your own lists) using the lists menu on your Twitter sidebar. By the way, it’s okay to be nosy, so don’t feel guilty about it!

Twitter Lists Tips

Here are nine Twitter tips for maximizing your use of Twitter Lists:

  1. Look around to see how people are using Twitter Lists and in which lists they’ve been listed. You’ll get a good sense of how Twitter Lists work and a bunch of ideas for lists you can create yourself.
  2. Experiment. While you run the risk of driving other people crazy, you are free to make as many changes to your Twitter lists as you wish.
  3. You can add yourself to your own lists which useful for when people follow your lists.
  4. Instead of following somebody else’s Twitter list, often it will make more sense to select people from that list and assign them to your own list. That gives you some control and flexibility. However, keep in mind that when people are added to that person’s list in the future, your list will not update automatically.
  5. Be careful when assigning people to public Twitter lists. Don’t offend them (unless of course you’re an antisocial type of person). They might retaliate by assigning you to a list of jerks or dorks or even worse. At present, Twitter lists can’t be altered by the people listed. Twitter will have to take action if (when?) behavior problems surface.
  6. On the other hand, use your Twitter lists to communicate thoughts about people in a constructive way. Assign them to a public Twitter list of cool peeps or to a list of experts in a niche. Do this even (or especially) to people who don’t follow you!
  7. Do anything you want with private Twitter lists just as you would with Facebook lists. If you want a Twitter list of nerds or spammers, keep it private or face likely retaliation. You probably don’t want to make your “little black book” public either.
  8. You can start off by making a Twitter list private and later switch it to public and vice versa.
  9. Have fun, but set limits, as Twitter Lists can be addictive. Don’t let Twitter Lists become an obsession (unless you happen to be looking for a new obsession).

I’m @larrybrauner on Twitter. Assign me to any funky Twitter lists, and you’ll live to regret it. :-P

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15 Responses to “Twitter Lists Beta Observations and Tips”

  1. Will McCulloch on October 18th, 2009 6:36 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for ( yet another ) easy-to-undrstand, interesting/useful take on getting the most out of internet marketing possibilities.

    Looking forward to this being available .

    Best wishes

    Will

  2. Debbie Morgan on October 19th, 2009 8:47 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Great post. Thanks for sharing this great tool. Just wondering if there is a limit to the number of names you can add any one Twitter list. I know on Facebook you’re limited to 20.

    Deb

  3. David on October 20th, 2009 6:53 am

    This tool is very helpful. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Larry Brauner on October 20th, 2009 10:31 am

    Deb,

    I haven’t noticed such a limit on Facebook. I have more than 20 lists, and some of them have way more than 20 members.

    I don’t know what Twitter has in mind, but I see no need to limit the number of members a list can have. It might be necessary however to limit the number of lists you follow, since they are itemized on the sidebar. We’ll see.

  5. farbige kontaktlinsen on October 20th, 2009 1:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. It will really improve my use of Twitter.

  6. Steve - Success Factors on October 21st, 2009 7:19 pm

    Larry, I have always respected your advice when it comes to all things social networking. I have not yet received Twitter lists on my page, but am looking forward to the day when I can manage lists from the Twitter site. When I do get it, I’ll be referencing this article again :)

  7. Larry Brauner on October 21st, 2009 7:24 pm

    Thank you Steve. I think that for most people, the timing of this article, i.e. during beta testing, made it too abstract and too hypothetical. I can appreciate it, since I’m not one of the people who has been granted access to Google Wave. :-(

  8. I.C. Jackson on October 22nd, 2009 5:08 am

    LOL @ “funky Twitter lists”!!!

    I don’t want to be the one who finds out how bad an idea that is ;-)

    Seriously, this is great news and I wonder if you think most users should wait until Twitter has worked the majority of the bugs out or just dive in now? Why or why not?

  9. Larry Brauner on October 22nd, 2009 11:11 am

    Twitter Lists are not yet available to the general Twitter membership Ivo. Once the beta testers have kicked it around, it should be ready enough for everybody to jump in.

    Even if you don’t create lists of your own, you’ll find yourself on other people’s lists.

    Incidentally, I have set up a “Cool Peeps” list, but I’m keeping it private.

    larrybrauner Note to myself: Add @icjackson to my “Cool Peeps” list ASAP.
  10. Larry Brauner on October 30th, 2009 10:22 am
  11. Steve on October 30th, 2009 10:27 am

    Dr. Larry, you read my mind! I’ve been looking for some good advice with regard to utilizing the twitter lists. I absolutely love being able to create lists, because I have long been wanting a practical way to more effectively interact with my friends and followers using your Pareto Principle. This allows me to do that! Thanks :)

  12. Larry Brauner on October 30th, 2009 10:49 am

    Thank you Steve, but when it comes to taking credit for the Pareto Principle, also known as The 80/20 Rule, I think I’m a little too late. ;-)

  13. Shaping Youth » Twitter “Women2Follow” Dedicated to Inspiring Girls! on November 7th, 2009 7:35 am

    […] for now, I don’t have time to start a ‘list’ just yet this indeed has the makings of one. (it’s like going into a grocery store for that […]

  14. @PrayMaddyMcCann on February 22nd, 2010 7:33 pm

    Thanks! Really good insight into Twitter lists!

    I’ve found that not only is it polite to list someone back if they list you, but you also get listed a whole lot more!

    If anyone wants to list/follow me I will return the favor: @PrayMaddyMcCann

  15. the facebook guy on May 19th, 2011 4:59 am

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

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