Approximately 25 million Tweets are posted every day and more than 5 billion have been created since Twitter’s launch. That’s a lot of 140-character sound bytes! And, if you’re following everyone from Justin Timberlake to the local news networks and NBA athletes, how do you dig through the clutter? Twitter founder, Biz Stone, says that the best way to get real value out of Twitter is to follow a small number of people; it was never his intention for people to follow more than 150 to 200 people.
Twitter recently launched a new feature to organize the people you’re following on Twitter by subject or to declare your favorite tweeps. Twitter Lists offer a way for you to bunch together Twitter users into “groups” so that you can follow their latest Tweet streams – from personal groupings of co-workers or family members to industries or interests, like San Diego restaurants or PR specialists. It’s a great way to find the subject-specific information you’re looking for quickly, without having to weed through pages of irrelevant tweets.
By creating a public list of Twitter users, you’ll enable everyone to visit that list and follow the people on it. It’s a great outlet to find groups of users who all tweet on the same topic. This can also cause users to develop a case of “Twitter envy” of users who are more “popular” on Twitter, hence listed more often. If you don’t want someone to know that you’re following them or simply want to keep the list to yourself, you can create a private list, which only you can view (sneaky!).
News organizations have already jumped on the Twitter Lists bandwagon, realizing it’s a great resource for gathering the news. They are creating staff directories of journalists and listing particular users by subject, such as politics and entertainment.
So, what does this mean for brands and businesses? Many brands have multiple accounts for various divisions, regional locations or products. Twitter Lists allow brands to create one master list, such as @brand/salesstaff and @brand/ourproducts. Brands can also more closely monitor their competitors through the private list function. On the reverse, they can create a public list of customers or critics who mention their brand or company often, or a list of industry news resources. Companies can also promote their branded lists elsewhere, such as on their Web site, blog, marketing materials and e-mail signature. The most useful and followed lists are the ones that are the most specific, so brands should keep this in mind.
Each list is currently limited to 500 people, users may create a maximum of 20 lists and list names can be up to 25 characters. Social media is always evolving, so these restrictions probably won’t stay in play too long.
For more information on creating Twitter Lists, public vs. private lists and ideas on naming your lists, refer to Mashable’s How-To Guide.