Monday, 9 May 2016

On Twitter and lists

Being into product development I am unsurprisingly fasinated by features and how other product people approach and solve problems. One particular feature that intrigues me is Twitter lists.  It is a simple feature with one configuration option - private or public - and one setting to either add people or remove them from the list. There are no big built in workflows or obvious big assumptions (at least to me) of how Twitter are forcing intending you to use their list. One of the things that I love about this is that it allows you to project your needs onto the feature and use it to solve your problem.

So being interested in finding out more about this - and wanting to test out Twitter polls! - I did a quick survey to see who else uses lists

Now it's not very scientific and the results were hardly overhwelming, but it did reflect a straw poll that I did in real life. Not much interest, but if someone was interested then they not only used their own lists but subscribed to other people's as well. Looking around I saw some interesting policies to get engagement based on following behaviour, e.g. This blog by Edward Nevraumont, so I wondered how lists could be used in a similar way. I have slowly developed a usage of lists to help me at conferences and it breaks down into three phases:

  1. Phase 1 - pre-conference

    As the conference organisers start to tweet including speakers twitter handles I create a public list for that event and add any accounts to it (including the organisers).
  2. Phase 2 - during the conference

    This is especially useful for multi-day congferences where I follow the conference hashtag for at least the morning session of day 1. Adding new accounts that I see pop up either on the hashtag or retweeted with the hashtag. This means that I am ready for day 2 to see what the other attendees or speakers are discussing and catch comments that may not have the #hashtag included (or a slight typo in the #hastag! ;-)
  3. Phase 3 - post-conference

    I now have a tailored list of people who are pre-qualified as interested enough in a topic to not only attend a conference but tweet interesting snippets on that topic. Even if I follow the people on this list separately it can be useful to quickly dip into likely conversation areas.
I have tried this a couple of times now with some conferences easier than others, for example The Lean Event (Brighton 2016) had mainly individuals attending who were active on Twitter is different from a trade show like Phocuswright Europe (10-12 May 2016) where my list is taking shape and which has more corporate accounts tweeting.

My lists are usually fairly plainly named in terms of intentions, just the event name. But I have seen some which are more of an invitation, for example I was recently added to this list inviting me to a face-to-face meeting at MTPCon ... unfortunately I wasn't there and only retweeted someone who was. This is where you need to be careful. Usually in my usage that's OK as we are interested in topics of interest rather than physical presence.

That's how one way that you can use lists, how do you use them?

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