Why I won’t make a Twitter List for Tuttlers

16/10/2009I just got access to Twitter Lists – the feature where you can create and publish lists of people to follow. The obvious thing for me to do is to make a Tuttle list, innit? But I’m not, and I can’t and here’s why:

You’re a member of Tuttle if and when you decide you are, it’s nothing to do with me. Now if you really misbehave and hurt people in the group or something (it’s never happened yet) I might ask you to leave and not come back (it’s never happened yet) but that remains a hypothetical case.

So I don’t know who should be on the list, and I can’t and I shouldn’t – that’s what decentralized power means, it’s none of it up to me, it’s up to you. If I made a list, I can guarantee you two things: 1) I would miss someone out and 2) I’d put someone on there that someone else doesn’t think belongs (say they came only came once and you didn’t see them) and every week I’d have a god-awful job of asking new people if they wanted to go on the list or something. Blaaah. No. Not going to happen.

So now I’m pondering what it means about Twitter (the company) and their attitude to centralisation, personal choice, list-making and popularity contests. But it’s time for bed.

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8 thoughts on “Why I won’t make a Twitter List for Tuttlers”

  1. I too have felt uneasy about Twitter lists. I have had them for a while but haven’t yet made a public list. I guess it is because they feel like a public statement of something that should be stated in public.

    1. I can see the point for a list with some clear and objective boundary – I’m happy to be on the LeWeb official bloggers list or the #media140 speakers list for example.

      It’s where it slips into categorising people that I feel uneasy and it feels like “These are the cool kids” or “These are the popular people” or “These are the scumbags”

      Also the whole attitude to lists and the SUL is a big area that I clearly need to write about a bit more to understand what I think…

    1. yeah, I was just diving in myself and late at night which is why this post isn’t as detailed as I’d have liked – fortunately Rupert has filled in some of the blanks below :)

  2. The risk of offence/exclusivity outweighs the usefulness, for sure. People’s radars are always up for the creation of cliques or A Lists. Even though most lists come about from a wish to provide a useful resource. And even though most people in a social media club list wouldn’t want to be seen as exclusive.

    The problem is, the perception of an A List arises even when it’s not really there. Forgetting celebrities for a moment, the people who are particularly active in a community or regularly produce something of great quality, will tend to be linked to or talked about more than other people.

    I think consumers generally like lists because they help choose what to read/watch/listen to amid the noise. But producers often hate them because they add an extra tier of hierarchy – if you’re not included, it’s because the list compiler hasn’t deemed you worthy, and you’re then at a disadvantage in terms of connecting with new consumers.

    Even blogrolls can be pretty obnoxious, I think. I have a list of Videoblogs I Watch on my site, which I created as a useful resource, trying to make it as encyclopaedic as possible, but some people have taken offence that they’re not on there, even though I clearly say “If you’re not listed here, I’m sorry – email me and I’ll add you”

    It’s the fact that I missed them off in the first place that hurts them.

    I think the best solution it is to have a community Wiki. Put *all* the responsibility on people to add themselves and their URLs to a list.

    If you want to draw attention to something cool that somebody’s doing, isn’t that what blog posts and tweets are for? Not adding them to static individually authored blogrolls and lists.

  3. It’s easy to get a bit wrapped up in popularity, when actually you can get an awful lot out of Twitter, in terms of both marketing and social interaction, from only a few followers.

    I can’t really see lists being one of Twitter’s greatest innovations.

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