Twitter lists: A new feature now being used by many news organizations.

Twitter List Bird from Mashable

Not too long ago, Twitter starting testing out a new feature on its site. This new feature is the ability to create lists which allow users to categorize the various accounts they follow. For instance, one user may create a list of coworkers, one of local businesses, and one of their favorite celebrities. The lists are public, but can be made private in case you’d rather not have others see. As requested by many Twitter users, this new feature allows for a more organized account.

But that’s not all. Additionally, if your lists are set as public, other Twitter users are then able to subscribe to your lists—making this social network site even more social.

Today, Mashable, an online social media guide, posted on the 4 Ways News Organizations are Using Twitter Lists. According to Vadim Lavrusik, author of the post, news organizations are taking advantage of this new Twitter feature and implementing it quickly in hopes to stay ahead of the curve.

Here are two of the four ways news organizations are using Twitter lists:

1) Staff Directory. The New York Times, for instance, has compiled a list of all their staff members so Twitter users can easily see what each staff member has to say. In addition, the Times also has many other lists.

2) Recommended Tweeps, Specific Information. The Los Angeles Times has created many lists for Twitter users to easily find West Coast relevant subjects/information such as restaurants, celebrities, art, and culture.

For the other two ways, (since you’re probably dying to know, and I don’t want to steal Lavrusik’s thunder) read the post and let me know what you think. I recommend it to all of you journalists out there. You never know, there’s now such thing as social media editors and you might someday be one.

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9 responses to “Twitter lists: A new feature now being used by many news organizations.

  1. Ah, I was wondering what all the chatter was about for lists on Twitter. I haven’t had a chance yet to experiment with them, so now I know.

    I think this is a really great idea. I don’t know how many times I hate having to sift through my Perez & Paris Hilton tweets (shameless, I know) in order to find my NY Times tweets. Smart thinking, Twitter, way to go!

    Now, if only I can figure out how to set my lists up without getting too confused……..

  2. I’m with Matthew on this – it seems like a really good idea, and an excellent way to organize an otherwise somewhat unruly stack of friends.

    Looking back at some of the more popular social media sites, it’s funny how those sites have evolved over time to incorporate what we now consider commonplace. Sometimes the additions are met with open arms (I suspect that will be the case here), other times there are thousands of people throwing online tantrums over the new facebook layout.

  3. I agree. I think that it allows for Twitter users to customize their account and make it much easier to find things.

    In regards to news organizations using lists, I think that this will be very beneficial for their followers. It allows for topics, headlines, and news to be found almost instantly.

  4. As a Twitter newbie still figuring out all the @ and # and mobile codes, this is something I’m embracing wholeheartedly and have already taken advantage of. I loved when Facebook came out with its friend lists, things are just so much easier to filter and organize this way.

    Random downside: I have to be more careful than I am about what I name my Twitter lists than my Facebook friend lists (or remember to take them off of “public” view). Names like “idon’tactuallyknowubuturcute” and “youSOcan’tseemyphotos” happen to work great for organizing Facebook friends, but I think I’ll be a little less descriptive when categorizing people whose tweets I’m watching.

  5. Exactly! It is such a good way to organize—especially for news organization who have tons of information out there. Now it’s easier for others to find everything and filter through it.

    Also, I think you’ve got a good plan when it comes to naming your Twitter lists—ha!

  6. It’s about time Twitter did this. Sometimes I just want to read my friends tweets and not have to surf through the news feeds.

  7. This is such a great way to organize my Twitter feed! I made a bunch of lists today (all private, of course, because they’re really only for my personal use) and I just love how I can click on “news” and have everything from the New York Times reporters that I follow to the LA Times and Washington Posts’ twitter pages just pop up.

    I follow almost 100 people, and even though that’s not a lot, this new way to organize the people I follow really helps me to separate my friends’ tweets from tweets about recent or breaking news, or musicians that I follow. Way to go, Twitter!

  8. I agree with what Holly mentioned about organizing your Twitter feed. I don’t even remember all of the accounts I follow because the same ones always seem to pop up. If I could make lists, I could seperate them into specific sections. That way, I could just look at the content I am interested in looking at. I wouldn’t have to sift through all of the accounts I follow.

    I really like how The New York Times is separating the lists by writers. Now you can look at the work of your favorite author without having to sift through all of the others. This has to be a huge advantage for writers as well. Now people have an easier time finding their work.

    • Emily’s last point is a good one: this has got to be a great way for journalists to create an online portfolio of all of their tweets. Considering my understanding of the intern job market leads me to believe my first “real job” as a journalist would involve updating a company or newspaper’s Twitter feed or doing some type of work with social media, I think this is a great way to better keep track of your contributions.

      I also liked Lavrusik’s third use of the lists: he used the Huffington Post as an example of a news company streaming tweets from their lists onto their website.

      While a part of me is still skeptical of the use of social media to get our news, I think if you’re going to tweet, you might as well commit to it. This way, Huffington can direct readers where they want. It gives them more control over the massive entity that is Twitter.

      For personal use, like many of my fellow students, I think this is a good idea from an organizational standpoint. It makes a lot more sense to organize the tweets you see on a page. Maybe it can streamline Twitter so it doesn’t continue to be the time-suck it is for so many individuals because they can now access information more directly. But, then you can just go to Facebook and a waste a few hours there instead…

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