Do I Really Understand Twitter?

by Bradley Jobling on February 3, 2014

When asked, I will be the first to say that I like Twitter over Facebook. Twitter is more open. It’s easier to find people who are not just friends of friends. Whatever your interests are, social media, travel, or just meeting people, you can easily find others.

This would seem to make it more open, yet at the same time Twitter is more private. I follow and connect with people who I don’t know. If I tweet an off-color joke or a picture I wouldn’t want co-workers or family to see, chances are they won’t. There are less people on Twitter than Facebook. A majority of the Tweets are ready only by a few. Tweets aren’t as searchable as a Facebook post. It’s no wonder that the younger audiences are abandoning Facebook for Twitter to escape the parental eye.

Twitter Lists

Everyone once in a while, I get this feeling that there are still parts of Twitter that I don’t understand. It’s simple enough, but a question came up today at work about Twitter lists. Can you Tweet to a Twitter list? The answer is no, but it was a circular process of coming to an answer. After reading the article How to Better Target Your Tweets on Twitter: “Tweet to List” I thought it might be possible.

In this article, the author says that, “If I were to tweet this way and tag it with my @gideonro/engager list, the only people who would see it would be the people subscribed to that particular list.” At first I thought this meant that I could somehow @reply and entire list of people. Yet on further interpretation, if someone subscribes to this list that I created, they will be able to see the Tweet tagged with the @gideonro/engager list. But so can everyone else and it would be just like any other Tweet in your stream, sometimes noticed, but often not. If you wanted to bring a Tweet to a the special attention to someone, say a list of reporters, you will still have to @reply each of these reporters individually. (Please feel free to chime in if I have muddled this any further.)

Twitter is still great tool, but it’s not always easy to use when trying to reach large audiences. Twitter takes time and effort. When lists were created many said there should have been an easier way do to create them. List creators shouldn’t have to click “add” for each person they want to add to their list. This of course, may be a mistake in design that Twitter will keep and protect. It keeps it from become a big spam-fest of messages.

Please remember to follow me at @bradjobling.

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