Twitter Lists No Substitute for Community

While everybody’s still writing about Twitter Lists, I’ve got another thought that’s simply too long for a tweet.
The A-list talk is about status. That’s cool.
Personally, I like lists as a way to discover new recommendations in communities of interest, and also as a way to quickly tune into those communities. Creating and following locality-based lists also holds much possibilty. Then there is the great value of seeing how other community members see you, as based on how they tag you in their lists. But lists are never going to replace the utlity of the two-way connection on Twitter. Dipping into streams and commenting and going back and forth with replies and DMs forms real relationships that Lists are going to have little to do with. If all you do with Twitter is broadcast, Lists may be a bit more important (but only if they get followed, which most of them so far are not).
I don’t think Lists shake up the core of the human relationships and far-flung community engendered by Twitter.
(And look, here we are tweeting and blogging about Twitter again, after almost getting that out of our systems earlier this year.)

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Gov 2.0 Radio.

Posted via email from Wired to Share

8 thoughts on “Twitter Lists No Substitute for Community

  1. adriel, you make an excellent point. i think its cool that we are all talking about twitter again — and rethinking about what its uses are – what its point is.

    the lists thing is interesting, it doesn’t replace the actual communication relationship building (complete with private auto tune jokes..wink wink) that comes with the usual twitter interface – but it is an interesting mirror as to who you are on twitter, and its a great way to meet people who are similar to you.

    right now im looking at twitter lists as a) a reboot of the “follower count high” that we all had a year ago – back when twitter was first picking up and it wasnt just early adopters and b) as a glorified follow friday/suggested users utility.

    whether or not it will grow into something more has yet to be seen…but i am excited that there is once again a buzz about what twitter can do. and its always interesting to see how a site/company/person reinvents themselves.

  2. It’s nice to be included on someone’s list but the importance of lists isn’t in flattering someone’s ego but helping the user organize the people they follow into logical groups. I follow a lot of people (maybe too many) and it is easy for me to miss out on Tweets by certain groups (friends, colleagues, locals, etc.) in the flow of Tweets that come across my Tweetstream. This way, I can click on a list and see Tweets from different groups of people in my life. But I don’t try to make everyone fit into a list.

    Lists exist for the purpose & convenience of the creator, not to stroke the ego of others. I’m not offended to not be included. Just like following or not following, you can’t let how others choose to use Twitter affect your self-image & self-esteem. If you do, well, you’re setting yourself up to eventually be crushed. No one is universally liked & appreciated.

  3. Whoa, Liz. You’re using Twitter lists for organizing those you follow? I haven’t played much with it, but I’d rather use it for organizing those I don’t follow.

  4. Unsure who you are, Judith, as you don’t link your name to anything… but no, not joking.

    What’s the point of using a list for people you follow? If you use tools like to find people tweeting about a topic, shouldn’t a list be used the same way; to learn what people are tweeting?

    If you’re following someone, why add the person to a list?

  5. Adriel –

    Great points. I was just pondering these when deciding whether or not I should continue shaping my lists, or making them private.

    It seems lists are going to be most important (I won’t say ‘valuable’ at this stage) to those wanting to be known as influencers, appear atop the ‘top lists’ etc.

    People can see who anyone follows at any time. The missing link of value to me is being able to tag users when I choose to follow them so I know why I sought them out, what insight they provide and how we are connected.
    How I tag them is up to me.

    I want to spend more time connecting, and benefiting from the information and people I find on Twitter and less time managing it.

    On that note – if anyone knows if there’s a way to do this I’m not aware of, please share so I can delete lists and go back to reading and meeting.



  6. Ari,

    How I’m influenced by what people say or write is completely my prerogative, on this we agree.

    I don’t think we can ignore that reality that there are some for whom this platform has become a tremendous digital-ego boost. As such, I’m simply noting that for those, the # of followers and now # of times listed is important and used to demonstrate, in some skewed manner, influence.

    The landscape changes quickly – always interesting to see how these changes shift our approaches.


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