5 ways Twitter Lists could be used in the future

Twitter Lists are the latest Twitterati obsession. [If you don’t know what they are, then this might help.]

Lists have obvious benefits. They give users another metric by which to measure their relative popularity and are (in all seriousness) a good way to discover new recommendations by trusted peers (or celebrities…).

But, I don’t think we are yet to see the full power of lists. In a widely unreported move a few days after the official roll-out, Twitter announced the introduction of a Twitter Lists widget (see above), allowing you to embed (on a website or blog) tweets from people on a particular Twitter List – this strikes me as nice additional functionality.

So what else could Twitter Lists bring? Here are my top five crystal-ball-gazing predictions:

  1. Yammer-like closed loop messaging – Lists are a great way to create subsections of followers. This has been possible for a while on Twitter clients like Tweetdeck and Seesmic, but lists could take this mainstream.
  2. Better conference backchannels – Using Twitter at conferences is a lot of fun. With lists, it would be possible to have a separate group of all conference delegates, making the feedback more focused. Maybe you would also be able to create lists based on GPS location to narrow it to particular conference rooms or even football stadiums for example.
  3. Segmenting of personal v. business tweeters – For the two years or so I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve used it 99% of the time for business. This has been mainly because my non-business friends weren’t using the service. That is starting to change dramatically and it would actually be quite useful to segment the two – both in terms of who I follow, but also in terms of what I say to different segments.
  4. Personalised news channels – Media organisations have been flocking to Twitter since it launched. But finding and following different outlets can be tedious and is not always perfectly suited to your interests or needs. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to use Twitter Lists to create a tailored feed for particular subject areas – e.g. PR or the environment – taking sources from around the Twittersphere.
  5. Advanced eCRM – This would, like most of these ideas, clearly require extra functionality, but it would be great for companies to use lists (or allow their customers to use lists) to segment different user bases and send certain messages to different segments of people rather than using different Twitter accounts. Obviously to do this, you would need to be able to send to a list, rather than just using it to view tweets from certain people.

So there you go, some more likely than others. How do you think lists could be used in the future?

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