All the rage of the blogosphere the last few days has been the launch of Twitter “Lists” to the 5,000 or so “lucky” accounts, enabling users to organize and sort their friends, as well as subscribe to large lists of friends, one list at a time. While not yet available to the masses, lists will revolutionize the way we receive content and the way we organize our communication on Twitter. As Scoble puts it, this is the best thing Twitter has launched in a long, long time. I propose we’ll see a new culture from all this – the death of the “unfollow”.
So many people have complained that building “numbers” is an ineffective means of using the Twitter service. We even talked about it in a panel I was on yesterday at BlogWorld Expo. I think the net result of the panel was that the end result of using Twitter should be about building relationships, converting followers, and encouraging clicks. If numbers help that, then good. They usually are far from the only factor that goes into that end goal though. Because of the focus on relationships, many people and brands (I can confirm this as the Founder and CEO of SocialToo.com) auto-follow. This does one of 2 things – it “initiates” a relationship between individuals, highlighting what could become a potential real-life relationship in the future, and finally it enables users to DM you since you have to be following an individual to send them a direct message on Twitter. For any reason, users usually auto-follow for at least the DM capability.
Now that Twitter is launching lists, I predict a new layer will be added to all this. I predict the stigma of “auto-follow” being a bad thing will go away. People will soon be able to “not follow” as many people as they want while still not offending them because they will technically be able to auto-follow them, but keep them in a list they do not check as often. Now, with lists, you can create lists of potential relationships, and then organize other lists of people based on various categories of how you like to follow. There will soon be no reason to “not follow” anyone any more (unless they are truly a spammer, which SocialToo will help you identify) because if someone is not interesting you can just add them to another list. Now they can still DM you and you don’t necessarily have to pay attention to their tweets mixed in with all the tweets you want to pay more attention to. The entire landscape of Twitter is about to change.
With Twitter’s introduction of lists I predict an entirely new Twitter. I predict an environment where you don’t have to unfollow anyone. I predict an environment where everyone can be a potential relationship, and we’re finally able to listen to the conversation in ways we were never able to accomplish before. Our relationships have officially been organized. I don’t yet have lists at the moment, but you bet I’m checking out Twitter’s API on the matter. How do you plan to use Lists?