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Twitter’s new feature, which the company calls lists, allows users to group together curated collections from among the people they follow.
For example, the list @paulboutin/entourage merges status updates from my hand-chosen group of best friends ever: Facebook chantreusse Randi Zuckerberg, VentureBeat mobile maniac Matthäus Krzykowski, local publicist David Speiser, and Bono.
The syntax for a describing a list in conversation is like this: @paulboutin/entourage. The URL for a list looks like this: twitter.com/paulboutin/entourage. Open that URL, and you’ll see only updates from the four users I’ve put on my entourage list.
Twitter rolled out the lists feature to a test group who simply found a notice at the top of our home pages upon visiting them today. The notice ends sarcastically: “You’re part of a small group receiving this feature, so don’t tweet about it yet!”
The ability to create groups is possibly the most in-demand feature among Twitter users. Reading one big river of updates from everyone they follow quickly becomes a mess for users who follow lots of other users.
Twitter has stalled on rolling out this feature since day one of its existence, when users began asking for it. Startup companies present.ly and yammer jumped in and filled the demand for a groups feature, as did many others. It’s unclear why Twitter waited so long to roll out this feature.
My one gripe: Lists is the wrong name. There are many things on Twitter that are already lists of stuff: The list of people I follow, the list of people following me, the list of updates from my friends, the list of updates from the lists of friends I’ve created, and the list of trending topics. Using the broad term “lists” here will get Twitter bitten in the future.
I’m still playing around with lists. Email me at email@example.com if you want me to try anything out for you.
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
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