Twitter Lists, a new feature that lets users lump Twitter contacts into various groups, went live as a beta to more users this week and should be available to everyone soon.
It's fairly self-explanatory to seasoned Web services users, but Twitter doesn't explicitly provide step-by-step instructions on how to create and manage lists on its Website. Since the Lists feature was opened to eWEEK Oct. 29, here's a quick lesson on how to create a list.
Sign in to Twitter and if you see this message when you go to your Twitter homepage, you're ready to rock: "New! Lists. A great way to organize the people you follow and discover new and interesting accounts. (BETA)"
Click the "create a list" button and type in the name of a list you want to use to group friends, colleagues, family and so on. Select whether to make the list public for any Twitter user to read, or private to create your own little walled garden of contacts.
Twitter will then ask you to type in the names of people you want to add, but it's much easier to add people from your Following page or their profile pages. Click on someone's profile, click the Lists drop-down menu, then check the box of the list you want to lump a user in. Done!
Want to see where you're listed publicly? Go to your profile page and you'll see a section for lists in your following/followers timeline. It's called, surprise, "Listed."
Click on it to see who has listed you. Note that no one can monkey with lists you've personally created under your account name. You may also edit and delete your lists at any time.
Search Engine Land provides the step-by-step picture lesson here.
This feature rolled out to 25 percent of Twitter users Oct. 28, but is now popping up for more of the almost 60 million Twitter users, according to Twitter Lists technical lead Nick Kallen.
What's good about Lists? TechCrunch noted that "once somebody makes a good list, other people can follow that entire list, which makes it much easier to get started on Twitter."
True, and Lists is a fine fix to solve that problem, but it will be interesting to see what sort of negative fallout there might be from this. Will friends begin to exclude friends, throwing up boundaries in Twitter where previously there were virtually none?
Lists could also cramp the serendipity factor on Twitter. Users may elect to spend their whole time in Lists rather than venturing out to follow and meet new contacts on Twitter. Is Twitter going the route of Facebook?
It's hard to say. In the meantime, let's list away.