When you first start using twitter, it is a bit like paint dry. You follow a few people, and not much seems to happen. Then you add a few more people to your follow list, and a few more, and a few more.
Suddenly your stream is zooming by with updates from hundreds of people,but you still don’t seem to get what all the fuss is about, because now you are following too many.
The optimal size of a twitter community is probably around fifty people, who know each other and actaully talk to each other. How you create those communities is with lists.
By creating lists, of people who are actually a community you can become part of a conversation. I have more than 15 lists, some are public, some are private.
I create temporary lists at events to follow the undercurrent conversations in the room. I may keep the list going to stay in touch with these same people after I go home. For example: When I attended the StartUp Weekend summitt, I created a list of the people I met there http://twitter.com/#!/list/roundpeg/sworg. During the event there was lots of conversation between the people on the list and it was lively and fun. I checked the list often during the weekend, to see where we were going, what people thought of a particular speaker or activity, or just for fun. Now I rarely check it, but from time to time it is nice to see what my friends around the globe are doing.
In contrast, my http://twitter.com/#!/roundpeg/local-indy list is my first stop every morning. These are people I know well, and many of them know each other. By pulling their content together, it is easy to see the streams of conversation, jump into to the jokes, and have a bit of fun. It is easy to keep up with what is happening in the local community. And becuase there are fewer people on the list then my main stream, I don’t miss important updates from friends
I have a list of women with whom I #WEW (walk, eat, walk). I follow their timelines to know if they are going to be in town, and available for our wekeend walks. I also have a small private friends list. I keep it private because I don’t want people to be offended if they aren’t on it. Each list is it’s own little twitter universe, and with them I can focus on the people I find most interesting, The conversations are different on every list. In a way it is like going from a Rainmaker event to Hackers and Founders, because in the end, Twitter is really just talking.
How do you use Lists?