Twitter is in the process of rolling out a new feature called Twitter Lists, which will enable all users to create private or public lists of Twitter users as they see fit. I’ve been playing with this feature for a couple of days now and am looking forward to publishing a few lists that I hope will be helpful for @journalistics followers. In the meantime, I thought it would be helpful to give you the quick scoop on what this feature is all about, and how I think it will be useful for journalists and public relations professionals.
What are Twitter Lists?
Hundreds of bloggers have already written about Twitter Lists, but in case you missed it, this new feature will enable you to create, manage and share lists of Twitter followers in your account. Let’s say you’d like to create a list of “My Favorite People on Twitter” for your other followers to see. In the past, you would have been limited to a “Follow Friday” shout-out or a separate post on your blog. With this new feature, you can create a new list, add the Twitter users you want to share, and publish the list to your profile. Similar to features found in Twitter clients like TweetDeck or Seesmic, you can also create your own private lists of Twitter users, to help you manage your interactions more efficiently. In short, Twitter lists add a new component to the viral nature of Twitter and are sure to increase usage and cross-pollination among users even further.
How Journalists Can Use Twitter Lists
I started thinking of some quick and easy ways journalists could use Twitter Lists to keep better tabs on their sources. I came up with the following:
- Create a public list of all the journalists at your organization
- Create a private list of your sources, organized by beat, story topic, or by people you’ve interviewed in the past
- Create a private list of your competitors, so you can keep tabs on what they’re writing about
- Create industry-specific lists of experts to brainstorm new story ideas
- Create geographic lists for sources in specific markets
- Create hashtag-based lists, for people who regularly participate in discussions around a particular tag (i.e. a conference or current event)
How PR Professionals Can Use Twitter Lists
- Create a list of your clients who actively use Twitter
- Create a list of your colleagues at your organization
- Create a private list of journalists you want to follow or target with story ideas
- Organize media contacts by geography, beat, past interaction, etc.
- Create a list of media organizations, to keep tabs on current events or stories – for example, create a list of the top social media Twitter users
Same Strategies, New Tactics
Most of you are already using tools like the MediaOnTwitter wiki to find journalists who use Twitter. With lists, you have a new way to customize your lists around your specific needs. This can be a huge time-saver and ultimately can help you get more out of Twitter. As you increase your following on Twitter, you’ll find that lists can help you organize your contacts in new ways, to help make you better use of social media. The Twitter Lists feature is similar to the features found in Facebook or FriendFeed, which enable you to organize contacts by your own categories. This approach seems to be more efficient and easier to do on the fly. More importantly, it’s a lot more viral, as you can share your lists with others to help them connect with people you find relevant to a specific category.