Twitter Lists appeared last Friday, right before the weekend when many people tend to take a break from their computers. But that didn’t stop plenty of us from playing with the new feature and creating our Lists. Based on the tweets I’ve seen, and some early […]

twitter-logoTwitter Lists appeared last Friday, right before the weekend when many people tend to take a break from their computers. But that didn’t stop plenty of us from playing with the new feature and creating our Lists.

Based on the tweets I’ve seen, and some early posts on the topic, some are already wondering if Lists will lead to competitiveness or a way to “judge influence.” A.J. Kohn of Blind Five Year Old believes that Twitter promotes competitiveness and comparison by including “listed” as one of the three big metrics on each profile page, right after “following” and “followers.” Similarly, Chris Brogan believes Lists promote exclusion, rather than inclusion.

I believe it would serve Twitter users better to leave that off, or at least only make it visible to the user and no one else. Come on, admit it. When you see someone with a “listed” number of over 100 and yours is only 20, it evokes not-so-happy feelings. Lists are supposed to help us better organize our data for easier information retrieval, not to create a popularity contest or stroke egos.

Do Twitter Lists Identify Influencers?

By now, most of you know that having thousands of followers doesn’t automatically mean you’re a celebrity or authority. “A Twitter account with 100 engaged followers is much more influential than one followed by thousands of disengaged users,” writes Todd Zeigler in Bivings Report. “I would argue that getting added to a list is a bigger deal than simply getting someone to follow you.”

I disagree with the latter statement. First, some of us follow hundreds or thousands of people. It’ll take time for us to sort them into our Lists. Second, people create Lists for different reasons. Sure, some will create Lists to identify their favorite tweeters and thought leaders. But many more — from what I see so far — create Lists based on topics. Third, it works two ways. You can add someone to a list without following them back, and you can follow someone without listing them.

Stop Studying the Numbers

Not so long ago, people put a high value on the number of followers a person had on Twitter. Since then, most of us figured out that a person can artificially boost that number without being an authority or influencer.

Lists are new to all of us. Obviously, people with loads of followers tend to have a higher number for “listed.” Like Kohn, I think Twitter didn’t do us a favor of adding the “listed” number because it takes the attention away from better information management and sharing and moves the focus toward popularity.

An obsession over the number of followers does you no good. They might not be listening to you. Instead, focus on joining conversations, listening to others, sharing valuable resources and helping each other. Make Twitter work for you — your way.

What do you think of Twitter Lists so far?

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  1. Lists *do* add context, simply by way of their labelling at categorisation.

    I suspect Lists will be a more valuable metric that follower counts, particularly when you begin to aggregatte and analyse the names of s lists an individual is a member of.

  2. Why shouldn’t someone who’s quantifying themselves feel bad that someone else has more lists than them? That should try to help motivate them to try and make more lists and (by Twitter logic) have more people listen to what they have to say. If someone lands a client or job over me, well they’ve bested me, and that sucks. But it’s only a bad thing if it prevents you from making steps to better yourself.

  3. Really? I need to “better myself” in hopes that maybe I’ll be “lucky enough” to make it onto someones list now? I can’t be me anymore. I have to have “Twitter Appeal”. Gotta figure out what the kids want, gotta do some research. Target my Tweets just so, ya know, so that I can “better” myself and be labeled and categorized and listed and slotted and lined up. Cuz it’s all about your numbers, huh? All about who’s being listened to, who’s more important.
    Twitter is a joke. Twitter has “jumped the shark” and swam away. Chase your lists, worry about your numbers and your lists. It’s all so very important, I know.

  4. 7 Artikel, die man zu Twitters Listenfunktion gelesen haben sollte at @TwittCoach Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    [...] Dass die Listen auch zur Messung der Reputation verwendet werden können, findet Meryl Evans auf WebWorkerDaily: Twitter’s “Listed” Stat: Is It a Measure of Influence? [...]

  5. Lists, followers, following don’t mean too much! Although I must confess if someone new follows me a get a small twinge of excitement as I look at their profile quickly followed by slight suprise that anyone would want to follow me? (I have always been impaired by ‘low self esteem’!)
    But in the grand scheme of things I personally believe its better to be ‘engaged’ with your followers and those you are following.
    I feel like Twitter is a community of friends and strangers who have interesting things to share and with whom I feel are interested in what I have to say.(On Self Esteem Good Days!)
    So whether you are a list, follower or followed it is the ‘quality’ not ‘quantity’ that counts in the end!

  6. Great thoughts on Twitter lists, Meryl. I must admit to feeling a sense of esteem when I found myself on a few lists – it feels good to be acknowledged. I suspect I will create my own lists as a way to share the Twitter love as well as to help me stay organized. I only wish I had the time to organize the lists!

  7. I’m not sure if number of lists is a good thing. What if you’re on multiple lists of “says stupid things I can blog about.” I hope i’m not on too many of those!

  8. Using Twitter for business and networking | Meryl.net Monday, November 23, 2009

    [...] Twitter “Listed” Stat: Is It a Measure of Influence: Don’t let the Lists numbers bug you. [...]

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