Twitter lists

Thanks to the internet there is too much information in the modern world. Alongside newspapers, TV, and radio there are endless websites, blogs, and podcasts sharing ‘content’ and fighting for our attention, let alone Twitter. Twitter, I feel, is the most extreme example of this phenomenon.

Twitter features the most content by the most people accessible with the greatest ease (i.e the majority of accounts are public, accessible at the click of a follow button, and assembled into a single timeline, as opposed to friend requests having to be accepted or website menus navigated). Of course, none of this is at odds with the brevity of Twitter’s content (140 characters or less) but is actually a function of it. The easier and quicker it is to create something, and the lower the threshold at which that thing is considered worth sharing, the more content is likely to be created.

The problem with such a surfeit of information is navigating it. Many of is have become skimmers, ruthlessly filtering out anything that does not immediately grab our attention. The implications of this behaviour are beyond what I want to get at in this post, which is that Twitter should improve how it displays lists.

I am sure I am not the only one who feels that in some ways their Twitter timeline becomes less useful the more accounts they follow. The more tweets one has access to, the more likely one is to miss something. On the other hand, in my experience at least, the more I use twitter the more accounts I want to follow, as I am drawn towards interesting information and conversations. The only real way to combat this is to use lists, in order to group accounts together, and sort the vast expanses of twitter in some basic way.

The problem with this is that lists are a pain to access. After Twitter’s most recent redesign of their iOS app, the timeline, notifications, search, the compose tweet function, draft tweets, my profile, and now messages are easy to access. Lists are not. To access lists I have to go to my profile, scroll down, and then click on lists. This is a pain (albeit it a first world problem), particularly when the list section has a tendency to close sometimes when I navigate away from Twitter and then back again. Given the huge amount of information Twitter features, making that content easy to navigate and sort has to be a priority. Making lists more easily accessible would surely be an easy improvement to make, particularly in the app, where it could be accessed by a long press on the home button. Please twitter?

PS. A bit of a weird thing to write so much about, but I really wanted to write a post on something, anything, for the first time in a long time – this was one take, no stopping and no editing.

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