Friday, November 27, 2009

What Do Twitter Lists Mean to Me and for Business?

Twitter - Home_1259335488251 What do Twitter Lists mean? I think it will take a while to find out. Jeremiah Owyang points to recruiting: When hiring see on how many Lists they are mentioned. Debbie Weil calls Lists "the new measure of cool". Denis Hancock of Wikinomics also relates Lists to popularity, but wonders if popularity relates more to the number of people that follow your lists or the number of lists you're on. And Robert Scoble shares how Lists have changed the way he follows tweets.

I'm happy we have lists. One of the reasons people were using Tweetdeck, Brizzly and the like had to do with the fact that Twitter.com had no functionality to group the people you follow. And what these groups meant to us was clear. They were our own private groups in Tweetdeck and Brizzly.

Of course there were sites that helped people find tweeps related to certain topics. For instance Wefollow. However in Wefollow you could say which list you wanted to belong too. The amount of followers and people you follow made up your number on the list.

But what do Twitter Lists mean? My first idea was to change my groups in Tweetdeck and Brizzly into private Twitter Lists. So I did. But why would I keep them private? To show I don't read all the tweets of the people I follow? To show I read some tweets more closely than others? But everybody does, so why should I be ashamed of that? So, I opened up. All my old groups are now Lists.

But what do these lists mean? Well, I just hinted one meaning. I have three groups (at the moment) with tweeps that I follow closely. Following Luis Suarez's terminology I labeled them 'villages'. In this way I also want to make a statement: I follow these groups closely but there is no difference in importance or closeness between these groups. Maybe there will be in the future.

Lists have another meaning to me as well. How many Lists are you on? What does it do to you when you're on someone's Lists? Well, I feel flattered. And it encourages me. It also gives me a notion of what the List owner thinks of me. It tells me a bit about what expertise they think I have. (The weird thing about my List label 'village' is that I don't send that signal to the people on my list. It just tells them they are close to me and I follow them closely. Maybe this is a reason to change the label term in the future?)

But what do Twitter Lists mean to companies? Should companies build their own lists? And what does it mean for a company to be on a list? It would be interesting to see if the amount of Lists a company is on correlates with revenues or turn-over. Do you think this will correlate? What do you think Lists will mean for enterprises? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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