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Friday, 30 October 2009

HootSuite tells me they'll be adding the ability to add people to Twitter lists "as soon as possible". The 'Lists' feature is no secret, with many tweeps (people on Twitter) tweeting about how it has been added to their account. I got mine yesterday. Management's request not to tweet about it yet was possibly tongue-in-cheek and, in any case, an improbable ask.

Tweeps are notorious breakers-of-news so getting lists added to their accounts was always going to be something to tweet about. Immediately.

The feature stumped me, at first. I couldn't work out how to edit a list once it was made. It seemed, for a while, that editing would be impossible. Then I read a blog post which told me that you add people to a list from their profile page.

Since I use HootSuite all the time as well as the regular Twitter web page, I can now just move between them when I discover someone who I want to add to a list.

There are two of them, currently. I figured that other people would set up 'journalists' lists, so I added a twist to mine, and set up a 'journalism-academics' list. It's got eight members so far. As new j-school teachers appear in my stream, I'll add them to it.

The other list I started is 'politicians', for obvious reasons.

Maybe a summary of how a list works is in order. If a person is added to a list, all their tweets appear in the stream that belongs to the list. This is accessed at the list page. The member is logged as being 'followed' by the list. So the label on my 'journalism-academics' list says "Following: 8".

People can also follow a list that you create, and there's another label showing how many people are following your list. There's also a 'List' counter on your home page, which shows how many lists you are included in.

Lists are thus a fully-integrated element of Twitter. So where will the first 'list analytics' operation start up? Will it be inside an old-media company such as Reuters, or will there be a new type of company that searches through lists and publishes surveys and articles that examine the list phenomenon?

And are lists just like permanent hashtags?

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