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 Lists Observations
Here are five ways in which Twitter Lists and Facebook lists are similar:
- 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.
- You create and name your lists, and you can edit its name even after the list has been established.
- You manage your lists and can add and remove people whenever you wish.
- Facebook lists and any Twitter list which you make private are known only to you, the list creator.
- 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:
- All Facebook lists are private. However, on Twitter you can also create public lists to share with other members.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- You can add yourself to your own lists which useful for when people follow your lists.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- You can start off by making a Twitter list private and later switch it to public and vice versa.
- 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.
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