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Tech Talk Tuesday: Twitter Lists Are A Dream For Marketers And Moms Alike

It’s been a while since I’ve introduced any new technology to y’all over here. It’s not that there hasn’t been any, but nothing has really grabbed me as much as the recent burst of twitter list making add ons.

Back on September 30th Twitter announced that lists would be tested in a small closed group. Some would call this a closed beta, maybe even an alpha. Even though twitter is a lightfooted, independent company, they’re still a little slower than the startups that rely so heavily on them. While the rest of us are waiting for Twitter Lists to become a reality two startups emerged in the last few days that make great twitter lists. I’ll tell you who they are, and I’ll tell you why you need them.

Twillist is the first site I was alerted to. With twillist you can make lists of twitter users and share them with the world. Twillist is great because of it’s users. Naturally the techies are using it first, there are great lists being made by Sean Percival, Laurie Percival, Adam Katz and Michael Broukhim. What’s great and different about Twillist? There’s a snazzy button where you can ask to be added to someone’s list. This accomplishes a few incredibly important goals:

  • social media relies on user generated content, without opening your list up to have just anyone edit it, it allows people to add to your list in a tactful manner
  • it spreads the workload out
  • people who have self identified as part of a group are more likely to help you promote that group

Mixtweet is another twitter list site and it’s UI is a little more nimble than Twillist. This morning I made a very short list of Social Media on Mixtweet, I like that I can clip small conversations so I can get back to them later. Why would I want a very small list on Mixtweet?

  • I follow in excess of 3,000 people on twitter, I want to go to panels, conferences and events. I need a way to listen in a quiet space. Lists are quieter
  • Some people seldom update, this means that I might all but forget they are on twitter, small lists help remind me

Lists in general are interesting. For some reason we all like them, the most read blog posts contain lists, magazines live off of them, and now we are listing our friends and coworkers publicly and privately online.

When I consult with companies I try to remind them that social media is exactly the same as every other part of your life. You have two ears and one mouth. By making twitter lists with either of these two add ons (and perhaps eventually with twitter itself) you can listen to groups of people without having to follow them on twitter. Thus reducing some of the extraneous noise.

Socially lists can be fantastic, but I’m going to give you a little advice you should probably cling to. If you make a list of 10 of the best (or 12 or 100) what you’ve done is tell thousands of people that they are not good enough to be on your list. Those thousands of people may be too polite to tell you this, but they think you’re a jackass and a social climber. If you must make a top tweeter list, make it private. People will hate you a tiny bit less.

Twillist and Mixtweet are both new and buggy, but they both add immense value to anyone who is a social media enthusiast or starter. If I were a marketer or a publicist I’d be using Mixtweet right now to make lists of the people I actually want to listen to, and I’d be keeping that private.