By now, Twitter users will have noticed a new feature being touted at the top of their live feeds. At long last, it seems that the social networking site has placed some credence in the ability to sort through and filter information. My primary quibble with Twitter up to this point was its lack of a dependable search feature. Whether users were trying to look up their friends’ accounts or looking to sift through previous posts, a headache was sure to follow.
In the last few days alone, Twitter lists have made my social networking experience much more efficient. The lists allow users to narrow and refine the influx of information that comes into their feeds. I’ve created several unique lists, and each one has a distinct purpose. Since I mainly use Twitter to stay in touch with old friends and to monitor developing news stories, it’s helpful to separate those two ends.
My lists are organized as follows: one for college friends, one for friends from my hometown and one for celebrities and news sources. Needless to say, I haven’t even begun to tap the full potential of this feature. Still, it saves me from having to wade through Shaq’s attempt at live-tweeting the Espy’s just to see how my best friend’s job interview went. While you might argue that I could just call my friend to find out, that’s beside the point.
Although I haven’t yet taken advantage of this aspect of the lists, they are apparently also meant to draw attention to other users. Rudimentary yet beloved traditions like “Follow Friday” used to be the go-to method for recommending people to your followers. Every week like clockwork, users would offer suggestions of people worth following on Twitter. They would announce these recommendations to their friends by tweeting “#followfriday” followed by a list of names.
As is its tendency, Twitter has simplified this time-consuming process. Now you can dedicate an entire list of people you deem follow-worthy and point your friends to the list. Josh Catone offers a helpful step-by-step introductionto list making at Mashable.
Twitter lists have mostly drawn praise from social networking enthusiasts across the Web, but there are a few skeptics out there as well. Late last week, PC Magazine writer Brian Heater played the role of reformed curmudgeon by first lamenting the fact that Twitter lists could spell the end for Follow Friday and later acknowledging that the change is for the best.
It’s impossible to understate how useful this function will seem to some of you. The more people you’re following at the moment, the more you’ll benefit from the organization lists provide. It’s safe to say that if you’re easily overwhelmed by huge volumes of disorganized information, you’ll embrace Twitter lists as a godsend.