Twitter recently released Twitter Lists which allow you to group people together based on whatever subjective categorization method you want. For example: since its rollout I’ve been made a part of 107 lists, including: Networking Rockstars, Human Capital Peeps, Movers and Shakers, Gators (go Tebow!), and my favorite – Women. (I looked down and checked; yup, that’s an appropriate group for me to be in)
This is great that Twitter has created these lists – however, Twitter is a bit late to the game with this upgrade, and there are some limitations/downsides to its current functionality. For starters, I’ve had “lists” of people in my TweetDeck groups since 2008. I know other Twitter apps have also provided the opportunity to categorize our flocks of tweeple. In addition, when you ‘follow’ a list, all you’re following is the list. And to the best of my knowledge, in order to view the list updates, you actually have to go TO the list instead of having it automatically update like with TweetDeck groups. You can’t subscribe to an RSS feed of the list yet, either, like you can for individual Twitter users. (unless you know how to manipulate Yahoo Pipes) AND – if you want to actually follow the people in the List, you know, so they can DM you and so forth, you have to manually click through each person and follow them. I don’t know about you, but I’m too lazy busy to do that these days.
Of course, you also can’t ‘share’ your TweetDeck groups so Twitter Lists has a leg up here. But I found something better a couple of months ago, long before Twitter launched its lists feature…
My list-builder of choice is a sweet little service called TweepML. TweepML is “an XML format used to represent a list of Tweeps (Twitter users).” Basically, you can add people to a list, share the generated link, and allow other people to actually follow those individuals, not the list itself. In addition, you can add buttons to your website to provide an easy one-click follow to all of the people on the list, or you can select who on the list you want to follow by checking the box beside a name.
The best part is that I’ve actually found a great way for the two of these listing services to play together! A very cool feature that TweepML has is a quick import tool, so if you have a link to a page with a list of Twitter users that you want to add to a list (let’s say, oh, a Twitter List) it will automatically extract the Twitter users from that site and put it directly into your list builder.
For example: we recently had our first Bellingham Social Media meet & greet, and I wanted to create a list of people who were interested in the group on Twitter. I created a Twitter List of these people, copied the URL, and pasted it into the field that TweepML provides to automatically find Twitter users:
I finished creating the TweepML Bellingham Social Media list and posted the link up on our Facebook group page so that everyone there can follow each other without having to constantly click through to the Twitter list. Simple, quick, and no extra steps!
Now – something that would be even more of a value-add would be an integration between TweepML and say TweetDeck to automatically associate people from a certain list with an existing group….how ’bout it guys? Can you make that happen?