I don’t know where I was the week Twitter “lists” hit the net [October 15-ish] because I’m just getting hip to what is going on. To understand the Twitter List Hooplah, John Haydon's explanation here is as good as any, better than most.
Bottom line: Depending on your purpose, the Twitter “list” scenario mimics your file cabinet, your Rolodex, the snooty books you display on the shelf behind your desk, or a team of research assistants.
The File Cabinet Scenario
In perhaps its most popular use (so far), the Twitter list – which you must create yourself by picking, choosing, and categorizing the people you follow – becomes a sort of digital file cabinet, with your various “who’s who" compartmentalized in separate folders. The purpose of the File Cabinet is to help you keep track of people according to the group/tribe/philosophy/psychosis to which you assign them.
The Rolodex Scenario
The ubiquitous Robert Scoble is trying to keep up with 10,000 people. It used to drive him crazy, but now he has stuff streaming in by groups. The system works so well that, within days of Twitter List release, Scoble says Twitter Lists replaced Google Reader for him. Visit @Scobleizer for a peek at the 40 cognoscentious lists Robert has compiled.
The My List Is Bigger Than Your List Scenario
Like The New York Social Diary -- and depending on who's doing the compiling -- various lists (like those Scoble has put together) can segué to a Very Important List of Very Important People. Todd Zeigler at the Bivings Group thinks Twitter lists will become the bellwether of whom to follow. “I think Twitter Lists will end up helping separate the men from the boys when it comes to influence. In addition to seeing a Twitter user's follower count, we can now see the number of other Twitter users who have added them to lists. I would argue that getting added to a list is a bigger deal than simply getting someone to follow you.” Heaven help us all.
The Research Team Scenario
Kabir Bedi at PromotionWorld has a good article on how to set up and use Twitter lists. For my purposes, the feature that describes how to use Twitter for “Online Journalism” beckons. “Many news organizations and publishers are using Twitter lists to create staff directories, recommending their favorite Twitter people and specific information. This enables them to use Lists for curated real-time streams and to follow events.” Yeah, baby.
The downside to all this is the certain emergence of Twitter Envy, leading to Twitternoia, culminating in Twitter Syndrome. Watch TMZ for reports on desperate tactics related to getting Twillisted.
-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo