Rethinking How I Use Twitter Lists
Twitter just released a new feature in their mobile app that lets you swipe back and forth between up to five lists.
This is handy, because while Twitter lists have always been interesting, they’ve been pretty hard to get to—especially on mobile.
The update got me thinking a lot about my own list organization, and how I might optimize my lists to make use of it.
Modes of interaction
When thinking about how to redo my lists for swiping, I came up with two different models.
By Topic (Security, Tech, Humans, Politics, etc.)
By Mood (Positive, Serious, Funny)
The question being that when I wanted to switch modes, what mode was I really referring to?
And that question requires you to ask and answer other questions.
What do you use Twitter for?
When Twitter is working well for you, what is it doing?
When Twitter is a dumpster fire, what’s going wrong?
What do you wish it did better?
My use cases
These are my current lists.
I think my use cases come down to:
Follow what my friends are up to, and give them interaction and support online
Track other people in the industry, see what they’re doing, and see if I should check out that thing
Learn about new industry stuff
Follow the news, and hear commentary on it from people I know
Hear the raw wit and humor of people I follow
Broadcast my ideas and get feedback from others on them
If I carve that down, I think I end up at:
Follow/support my friends
Track the industry
Get current events analyzed by people I know
Broadcast my own signal
And actually, those actual match fairly well to the lists I already have.
Signal is people who broadcast strong content of any type (security, politics, etc.), Friends is for people I know closely, Infosec is for security types, and Bay Area is for local folks, because at one point I was trying to reach out to local people for coffee and chat.
This makes me think I’m actually looking for something more extreme.
I think I need a combination of content and mood lists. So maybe:
This would take me from Home (unfiltered) into my two happy places, then into topics likely to inform/anger me.
I think that’s a good flow.
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There’s no place like home screen
There’s also another possibility, but it’s quite extreme. And that’s to turn the home feed into a neutral/positive place, and then add additional content via lists.
So I’d only follow positive/uplifting sources, and then add everyone/everything else via their topic/category. So:
This seems interesting, but it’d be quite an overhaul. And something feels strange about sanitizing my homescreen.
In one mind I think if the world causes me stress then I should fix the world, not look away. But my second mind knows that if Twitter makes me angry/activist/sad multiple times a day, when I accidently find myself in the app, then I should control that input so that it’s positive.
In other words, if I know I tend to automatically walk up to my fridge and eat something inside without thinking, the smart thing would be to stock it with healthy food.
Anyway, those are my thoughts.
I think the swiping gives us a good chance for context switching within the app. We just need to decide what those various contexts should be.
If you’ve thought something similar, or have cool list organization ideas, definitely hit me up or post them somewhere so we can exchange ideas.