Finally, Twitter Gives Us User Lists!

OMG! I can haz twitter user lists! The blogosphere is in a tizzy with news that Twitter is launching user lists soon. Obviously, this has been a much requested feature, and most third party Twitter clients have already implemented this type of functionality. From the Twitter blog post, here are the basics:

Lists are public by default (but can be made private) and the lists you’ve created are linked from your profile. Other Twitter users can then subscribe to your lists. This means lists have the potential to be an important new discovery mechanism for great tweets and accounts.

If you look at this tiny paragraph, you will notice that it is packed with information. First, lists are public by default. This should not be a big surprise given the default public stance that Twitter has always had. However, you can also have private lists. This is good for people who really just want to make reading and using Twitter a little simpler.

The next big thing is that other users can subscribe to your lists. So, instead of the various Twitter directories that have started to pop up, you will be able to subscribe directly to someone’s “top 100 developers” twitter list or “top 100 PR people” list. This could greatly enhance user discovery, as sometimes it is hard to find a good list of people in your industry.

According to the blog announcement, a List API is also being added. This is even bigger news than than the main list additions. This is important for many people because Twitter just gave us data portability for our user lists. Previously, you had to recreate your user lists for each third party client you tried to use. So, in the past few months, I have tried Seesmic Desktop and web clients, TweetDeck, HootSuite and Brizzly. I have had to create groups for each of these applications. TweetDeck did implement a server-side solution for saving groups so that you could have the same groups on each PC you used TweetDeck on.

Now that the likely most requested feature has been implemented, what is the next thing Twitter needs to add? Personally, I would like to see a more federated or distributed Twitter so that it could become the plumbing everyone desires. What would you like to see next?

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