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November 2nd, 2009

Creating and Evaluating Twitter Lists

As everyone likely knows, Twitter debuted native list-making functionality last week to the entire user-base after a brief period of selective beta testing. You won’t be notified that you now have the ability to make lists until you log in to Twitter on the web and see the message at the top of the page.

Creating a list is pretty easy. After punching the “Create a New List” button you can either search for a username or just go to either a specific user profile or your “Following” list and, from either of those, use the drop-down button to add a user to one of the lists you’ve created.

If you’d like to see what lists you yourself appear on just go to your logged-in home page and click the “Listed” link that appears below your picture and alongside your Following/Follower counts. That will show you what lists you’ve been added to and who the creator of those lists is. If you are viewing someone else’s list you can subscribe to updates from everyone on that list with a simple click of the “Follow This List” button at the top of said list.

After listening to some people complain that these lists are exclusionary and some people say it’s a great way to promote people you think are important, my opinion is that for personal usage they can be fun or informative but that their real power for marketing professionals comes in the promotion of employer or client programs.

Look at the Embedded Ambassador list created for a Voce program we’re working with Intel on. While other services let us create a similar list, this is now something that’s more “official” as well as being an easy way item to drop into any marketing materials that are created for the program. That link can be included in slide decks, is easily added to emails about program updates and is otherwise a great communication point. And it comes without the need to additionally explain that third-party service.

Lists will compete for our attention in the same way that Twitter already does, only more so. As some people were discussing last week, the number of lists you appear on will likely become the new Follower count – the way some people gauge popularity or influence.

Appearing on a list is certainly a good thing and does bring with it, in many cases, an important endorsement of your presence on Twitter. But as with everything it’s important that it be measured and weighed against program goals as a true gauge of influence and success. Without those benchmarks in place it’s tough – almost impossible – to determine whether what you’re doing on Twitter or anywhere else is working.

Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. In addition to the Voce Communications blog Chris runs his own personal site at Movie Marketing Madness and you can follow him at @ChrisThilk on Twitter.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Microblogging, Voce Clients

Add Your Comment1 Response to “Creating and Evaluating Twitter Lists”

DaveZatz on November 2nd, 2009 at 1:29 pm

The value of Twitter Lists is yet to be seen, especially given the lightweight implementation – No description or tags? C’mon Web 2.0. Also, we’ve yet to see this functionality appear in 3rd party clients and devices where a large percent of Twittering is done for. Although, that should be corrected in the near term. As for me, I’m on 74 Lists. Which is quite flattering, but has probably no noticeable impact on my reach. The new functionality and presentation is surely worth watching, but I’m not convinced it’ll change my suggested strategies for Twitter outreach.