Twitter lists will change how people network themselves into groups and geographies. Although the first lists will develop around social media (top 100s, etc.), they will eventually develop around organizations / civic groups, enterprises and geographies / neighborhoods. Once this happens, Twitter will evolve into a hyperlocal communication network or, a better term, media.
In categorical searches like finding the best Twitterers who cover the San Francisco food scene, Twitter Lists are far more powerful than using Twitter Search because the Lists filter Twitter feeds, and searches don’t.
Twitter is the only social networking application that facilitates individuals into building adhoc lists. LinkedIn and Facebook have their groups and fan pages but they require their participants to sign in. It takes an individual an hour to build a 200-person Twitter List in comparison to the days / weeks it takes to attain a 200-fan FB page. This will make Twitter Lists the prolific standard for organizing the social graph.
Although in beta testing now to a limited group, Twitter Lists will need three improved functions ( there a lot more minor ones) to become standard usage:
- Search function across lists.
- Ability to build lists by search across following/followers and automatic list creation. For example, I could build an instant list of Berkeley real estate agents by searching “Berkeley real estate” across my following, and clicking a presumed button called “Automatic List”.
- Ability to follow all those on other people’s lists like one can do on TweepML.com.
(Note: as of October 20, only a subset of Twitter users can see Twitter Lists)