The Twittervese has been all, well, atwitter, with news about Twitter’s new Lists feature. As someone who manages an ever-growing Twitter account with thousands of followers, I was pretty excited when I first heard about this. Lists promised to help me organize my followers — much like I already do on Tweetdeck Groups — but now publicly so I can share the people I love to follow with the world. But lets be honest. It’s less about Listing people you follow. The real bragging rights come from being Listed on other’s lists, thus presumably upping your company’s percieved value on Twitter.
Twitter’s Lists are kind of a more advanced, permanant, and more lastingly socially sharable version of #followfriday. For those of you who don’t know, #followfriday is a hashtag that people use to recommend followers to others on, of course, Friday. But as someone who thinks the worst place to use Twitter is on Twitter.com I find the creation of lists there to be something only one with limitless time could persue. Who has limitless time to create lists on Twitter? Well the most likely group would probably be the throngs of “social media experts” who clutter up their streams with tips they schedule to Tweet out throughout the day. In my own little lab experiment, it took approximately 5-6 seconds to add each user to a List. That translates into something very impractical and ultimately a poor measurement of your reach and influence.
Regular users, meaning your real customers and potential customers, are highly unlikely to create Lists. The average Twitter user may want to read your Tweets, click on your links and be influenced by your brand but probably doesn’t have time to categorize you into a List. Would they even know they can create Lists? Could they even do it from the application or mobile device they use to Tweet? It comes down to this: as far as the average Twitter is concerned, you’re either followed or not followed, you’re either on or off. It would be akin to requiring a magazine reader to clip out your ad and pin it to a wall to prove they really like you. That’s just silly.
Chances are TweetDeck and other applications will add the ability to allow users to create and manage Lists. That may make it easier for power Twitter users like myself, but not for the average joe. Alas, it was a good idea. In theory.