Twitter lists have yet to emerge from beta, but the world can’t seem to get enough of the new Twitter feature. Organizing a great deal of your content and contacts into well-organized groups, Twitter lists is a feature that has been heavily requested and highly anticipated for some time by Twitter users.
Though group organization has been available through third party Twitter applications for some time, the direct feature implementation from Twitter means that the feature will be more widely available to Twitter users.
The introduction of this feature also offers a glimpse into Twitter’s long term goals for the company. Not to say that Twitter updates are far and few between, but a company that has such a working relationship with a large number of developers has the ability to disrupt its own platform when introducing a new native feature. Whether it alienates developers by minimizing the use of their own application or distracts Twitter from its core competencies in its effort to maintain rapid growth, feature updates have become an interesting perspective towards the future of Twitter.
With Twitter lists, Twitter is finally enabling better ways in which to organize content within its site. This is important because Twitter has been operating as a giant thought bubble with few ways in which to distinguish and delineate necessary boundaries for its content. That diminishes Twitter’s value as it becomes more and more difficult to glean relevant content from its site.
Though Twitter lists has some improvement to endure beyond mere bug fixes, the fact that Twitter has embarked on such organization methods means that Twitter is changing the way in which people Tweet. This is a necessary change for Twitter at this stage, especially when you consider the reputation building up around the microblogging site.
Twitter has become a spam marketing forum, lending its public access format to a slew of useless content. Since Twitter can do little to regulate this without jeopardizing its service or its valued users, Twitter must shift the concepts around sharing content within its site.
Another reason Twitter lists may be helpful for igniting more interest in Twitter is its potential as a channel for dialogue. The added focus on users within a given list means that you are better able to track users with similar interests, and keep up with their relevant updates. There becomes less chance of missing their good content as a result of it being lost in a sea of bad content.
With Twitter lists, there is an enhanced focus on the content being shared within a list, instead of the number of tweets or users within a given list. This move takes away from the notion that those with the most followers will have the best marketing campaigns, and the way in which spam permeates throughout the site will have to undergo the same shifts as well.
In essence, Twitter lists could help reestablish the credibility of Twitter as a site. Rekindling interest in Twitter as a platform for sharing content means that the company could escape some of the negative feedback it’s received in the past year or so. After witnessing rapid growth, Twitter saw its first significant drops in traffic over the past few months. Combined with its inundated tweeting experience, the need for change was undeniable.
As I mentioned, the spam marketing on Twitter will need to make a similar shift in concept if Twitter is able to revise the concept of tweeting with Twitter lists. So will Twitter lists be effective in curbing spam behavior? As with anything on Twitter, spam messaging could in fact benefit largely from more organized user groups within Twitter’s network. On the other hand, the spammers could then be more easily identified and blocked from group usage.
In the end, Twitter lists will need to become fully self-regulating, which appears to be the direction in which they are already headed. This will be among the first major features on Twitter to require such self-regulation, which I think could be a good move on Twitter’s part. Twitter has remained as far away from heavy regulations surrounding its site activity for individual use, and I think that Twitter lists emphasize Twitter’s dedication to this principle.