Silicon Beach: Twitter Lists

About a month ago, Twitter launched a new feature called Lists to a limited number of testers and is about to make it available to all users, according to Twitter's blog

Twitter Lists lets you organize those you follow into categories. The title of the list and whom you put on it is entirely up to you.  Twitter Lists can be public or private.

Are Twitter Lists really useful?

Let's look at some pros and cons:


1.  Lists can cut out noise. As in real life, so on Twitter. Sometimes you have to put up with people who don't shut up about things you don't want to read. You might love having cocktails with your buddy, but maybe he's annoying as hell on Twitter. The solution: Put him on your "Jackass" list and keep it private so you won't hurt his feelings.

You can already do this on applications such as Tweetdeck by setting up groups, but now you'll be able to filter obnoxious people on This might also come in handy when you have friends who sell shit on Twitter. You adore them, but you don't want to see their thinly veiled sales pitches.
2.  Lists could make Follow Friday obsolete. The purpose of Follow Friday (hashtag #ff or #followfriday) is to let your new followers see which Twitter accounts you recommend and why. This is all fine, except of course when you keep recommending the same people week after week to the same people over and over again. Twitter Lists could end this hamster wheel cycle. One long, neat list is better than a million repetitive tweets.

3.  Lists that make you go hmm. When creating a list, you

inevitably begin asking yourself questions such as: "Why in hell am I

following this guy? Did we hook up? I don't even remember his name!"

Again, as in real life, so on Twitter. A well-managed list of

meaningful contacts makes for a richer experience. Taking the time to

sift through your list is good housekeeping. Think of it as a social

experiment and ask yourself: "Who really fits into my Twitter life and


4.  Lists make it easier to schmooze, connect, and get 411.

A well-curated list makes it easy for you to recommend folks. Let's

say someone tweets "Looking for a good South Florida portrait

photographer." Point them to your photographer list and -- voila -- one of

your contacts might get a new gig. Lists could also make it easier for

people with similar interests to find each other. And several media

outlets, including Huffington Post, are putting out useful lists for hunting down conversations about particular topics.

5.  Lists are a reflection of you.

As a social tool, Twitter Lists can let others know at a glance what

kind of company you keep, which is faster than browsing long follow

lists in no particular order. In other words, your lists say something

about you, not just about the people you follow.

1.  Lists take forever.

By far the worst thing about the Twitter Lists feature is that it's so

damn time-consuming. If you follow a lot of people, you might need a

part-time assistant to set up just one list. Scrolling down your

follow list and clicking "add to list" one account at a time is like

plucking instead of shaving.

2.  It don't mean a thing if you aint got that API.

Right now, you can benefit from using lists as a filter only on This is OK, for example, if you've set up a list with a

few people you want to catch up with at the end of the day. But as

soon as developers get their hands on an API (that's geek talk for "application programming interface," which lets one program "talk" to an

other), conversation filtering could be available on your favorite

Twitter app.

3.  Room for improvement. Currently, you

can't add a brief description to the list, but if you could, people

would know a little more about who's on the list and why. This could

be especially useful for dudes. "But honey, all those porn stars I

follow are for entertainment purposes only!"

4.  More is not necessarily better.

Use Twitter Lists wisely. Randomly following all the accounts on

someone else's Twitter list is not necessarily a good practice. Good

Twitter experiences are based on introductions and relationships that

build slowly but surely over time. You wouldn't place rotten strawberries

with the plump, juicy ones, would you? Give it some thought before

putting all your pickin's in one basket.

5.  Lists turn nice people into mean girls.

"Who's who," "top ten," and "best of" lists can be so high school. If

you're not on someone's list, don't mope like the cheerleader who

didn't make the squad. And if you are, don't gloat like the meanie

everybody loves to hate. Remember, someone with a biased opinion was

behind the creation of that list, and it wasn't Jesus, who loves

everybody, right?

6.  Protect your cred. Currently, the

only way to automatically remove yourself from other people's lists is

to block them. If you don't want to be on @exboyfriend's "All the Women

I've Given Herpes To" list, you need to eliminate him from your Twitter

life, even if things are cool between you two.

To keep up with news on Twitter lists, follow Twitter's blog. There's also a new site about to launch called Listorious (@listorious),

which claims to sort through the best of Twitter. Although this can be a

useful guide, remember this: The only person who can determine your

best Twitter follow list is you.

Have you begun using Twitter Lists? Do you love it or hate it? Please comment below.

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Miami native Maria de Los Angeles currently journeys in northern latitudes but is a correspondent for the Magic City. A community advocate, she pens stories about art, culture, good folks doing good things, women's issues, and only-in-Miami moments.