I’m a pretty heavy user of Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists are a great way to filter your Twitter stream, especially when you’re following a large number of accounts. And you don’t need to follow the accounts that are in the list, so this is a good way to get past the 2,000 following limit if you’re up against that. You can create your own lists or follow lists that were created by other people. Here are some examples of Twitter lists that I’ve created.
Lists can be public (shared) or you can create private lists that only you can see. I’ve created private lists for close friends & family and a “My Favorites” list containing the twenty or so accounts that I don’t want to miss.
Twitter lists look good on Twitter.com but I usually read them on my iPhone using Tweetbot or on my iPad using Tweetdeck or the fantastic Flipboard app.
This is how Twitter lists look on Tweetdeck. It’s really easy to see several lists at the same time.
This is how a Twitter list looks on Flipboard. To add a Twitter List to Flipboard, tap More… on the upper right, then go to Social > Twitter > Your Lists.
I like using Tweetbot on my iPhone to view Twitter lists because you can quickly switch between lists by tapping in the title bar area. That brings up a list of all of your Twitter lists.
There’s a lot of discussion out there about a recent Nielsen report stating that 60% of new Twitter users stop using the service after one month. 60% is a big number but I find it interesting that the number has actually improved recently. From the report:
Currently, more than 60 percent of Twitter users fail to return the following month, or in other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent. For most of the past 12 months, pre-Oprah, Twitter has languished below 30 percent retention.
First of all, I don’t think that a single event like Oprah joining Twitter should be singled out as the reason for a 10% improvement (30% to 40%) in user retention. I actually think that the improvement is due to the much criticized suggested users list that Twitter introduced several months ago. Before the suggested users list was introduced, new users started with a blank slate – Following 0 and 0 Followers. Twitter has always provided a way for people to locate friends by email address (similar to Facebook) but for the non-tech crowd, this might only result in a few matches and there is no guarantee that those people are active on Twitter. And while there are some pretty good third-party Twitter directories out there, most new users don’t have a clue where to find those. As a result, many new Twitter users log on to their account and see just a few updates a day from a handful of people. When they compare this to other social networking sites like Facebook, this makes Twitter look useless and they stop using it. Twitter’s suggested users list certainly isn’t perfect, but at least it gives new users some content to look at versus a blank page.
When I tweet a link, it usually only gets about 20-25 clicks but, in this case, the clicks went through the roof according to Bit.ly. As soon as Robert liked that tweet, the link that I posted got over 900 clicks in about 6 minutes.
A few thoughts on this:
A simple Like or Retweet from an A-Lister like Robert can drive significant traffic. This is hard proof that, with the right exposure, traffic from Twitter can achieve something similar to the Digg Effect.
The Twitter Effect can be very short lived. In this case, my tweet didn’t get many other retweets, so the number of clicks quickly went down after about 10 minutes.