Twitter Releases New Widget for Lists

Twitter recently expanded its new Lists service to users network-wide and in doing so, injected a sense of excitement, confusion, and also utility. Lists represent a significant milestone for Twitter as it transcends asynchronous conversations and and broadcast messages into a form of intelligence gathering, education, entertainment, and news.

Twitter Lists are also stirring controversy as many believe that it sets the foundation for a new level of establishing a metric for influence. Whereas prominence was measured by the number of followers as well as the friends-to-follower ratio, now the amount of Lists that include any given entity factors into an equation for establishing authority.  At a minimum, the power of Lists is in the gesture in of itself. The act of including someone is a more significant validation and token of respect and friendship than a simple “follow” and in some cases more symbolic and meaningful than a RT (retweet).  We take cognizance of intellectual, isolated, and emotional substance.

Additionally, Twitter Lists signify an important art form of curation. Individually, we are empowered to create valuable lists, by theme and voice, in order to provide a service to ourselves and those who share the same passions, interests, and beliefs as us.

Twitter rolled out an important new feature that untethers Lists to journey across Websites and blogs as a fully contained, customizable widget, ergo a channeled, live experience. Now curated feeds can channel into the outside Web to share insights with others who may or may not use Twitter, including those who may or may not follow these individuals online or in the real world.

Most notably, List widgets are updated in real time, a capability not yet included in streams viewed on Twitter.com. If a Tweet is worthy of reply or RT, a “reply” button appears as you hover over the Tweet of interest.

Be mindful of these small, but important updates. Essentially, Lists are a new form of information aggregation and syndication. Lists and List Widgets serve as a new genre of a very personal RSS feedreaders. And now, these curated contextual streams are portable and embeddable as well.

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  • http://twitter.com/DannyDee Digipendent

    Robert Scoble made the comment that Twitter Lists are going to replace your Google Reader…I'm starting to agree.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      I do agree…and I actually said that about TweetDeck and other Twitter clients long ago… :)

  • http://twitter.com/CarriBugbee Carri Bugbee

    In theory, lists could offer a more refined measurement of influence than followers, but gaming that system would be even faster and easier than building massive numbers of followers while having nothing interesting to say.

    I've personally ramped up 30+ twitter accounts. All I'd have to do is create several lists from each account and list the account(s) that I wanted to establish as prominent. I could then add a few dozen other people to each list to make them look legitimate. I never would do that, but I’m sure many will.

    Unfortunately, there is no quickie barometer of influence. The algorithms used by @Twitalyzer, @Klout, @TwitterGrader and other nascent analytics tools are still probably the best way to measure influence. They aren’t without their problems since they all emphasize different things and it’s not easy to figure out what’s being measured, but they’ll all get better as they prove their worth and migrate to paid business models.

    In the meantime, most of us will just have to follow our gut and decide who we like.

    PS
    I’d love to send the word “curate” to the lingo same trash bin as “solutions.” But that’s just me. :-)

    @CarriBugbee
    Social Profiles: CarriBugbee.com

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Excellent thoughts Carri…I'm a big fan of Klout. Re: curate, I the research librarian in me just loves that word, but I hear you…

  • http://www.muellerandrew.com andrewmueller

    Brian,

    This is a very cool and clever use of lists and gives people more of a reason to create and curate lists, especially lists of their own. I wonder if you could take anyones list and embed it in the widget or if it must be one of your own. If it were someone elses list and they choose to delete it or change the constiuents, name, etc. you are subject to the change. The widget could break if the list is deleted and in extreme circumstances the list could morph into something inappropriate for the site you embedded it on.

    You are absolutely correct, lists will certainly factor into the calculation for influence but not all lists are equal in their influence. The number of followers someone has, as well as, the number of lists one is on, are both poor measures of influence for the simple reason that influence resides in context to presumed expertise – their domain of influence. There are domains of influence in which a person could be extremely influential and other domains of influence where they may have very little influence at all.

    If you are interested I wrote and article about Twitter Lists, Power, and Influence: http://bit.ly/1glydV

    Andrew Mueller

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  • http://aerocles.wordpress.com/ Aerocles

    As soon as it's got a wordpress.com code i'm in

  • http://oldmedianewtricks.com DanielHonigman

    Twitter lists are great, but for brands to use them, Twitter must incorporate SOME form of filtering into the widgets.

    For instance, if I care enough about my cigar-related contacts to create a related lists, I may want to stream that content somewhere. But where would I put it? Most likely, on a cigar-related site.

    What Twitter has done is a great first step, but I think in order for these list widgets to become more popular, I the site developers must incorporate some sort of filter functionality into the lists.

    Would love to know what you think, Brian.

  • http://bradymacdoff.wordpress.com/ Brady Macdoff
  • bullaman

    It sounds interesting but there are so many widgets competing for valued real estate on my blogs. Agree it will make a worthy replacement for Google reader though.

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  • http://twitter.com/kristtina kristina sedere

    I wouldn't count on http://tffratio.com to measure prominance.
    What does it actually mean dividing followers/friends… I turned out to have “higher tff rank than gkawasaki, who I believe is more prominent on twitter than I am :) even though you count possible spammer followers he has:)

    to measure the influence is tricky, but what “listing” option will provide is the ability to differentiate & look at the content (users grouping the content for the observer:P ), which could be helpful in finding potential influencers regarding specific topics.

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  • http://www.facebookster.com/ Facebook Application

    It's a really good new release by twitter. Now we have no need to follow people one by one we can follow the specific list by twitter lists.

  • http://www.facebookster.com/ Facebook Application

    It's a really good new release by twitter. Now we have no need to follow people one by one we can follow the specific list by twitter lists.

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ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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