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Obvious next steps for Twitter lists

Thursday, October 29, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named entourage.gifOkay things are getting interesting now that 50 percent of the Twitter users have the lists feature. And now it's getting pretty obvious that there are some serious omissions. Permalink to this paragraph

First the fun part. Permalink to this paragraph

I started a Twitter Babes list, but got really nervous about it, fearing backlash, so I deleted it and gave it some more thought. It came back to life as my Entourage list, very much gender-neutral, there are men and women on the list. Permalink to this paragraph

http://twitter.com/davewiner/entourage  Permalink to this paragraph

These are people who I admire for their intellect, big heart, creativity, willingness to take a chance. Some I would trust my life with and others I'd trust my heart. They're good people to hang with. I don't agree with them all the time, I even compete with some of them. Some I don't know well but find interesting. Permalink to this paragraph

I'd love to say all this on the list, but there's no way to. That's feature #1. You must be able to explain what a list means. Even if it's only a link to a web page where you explain it. Permalink to this paragraph

A list is like a Twitter user. In fact some of my placeholder Twitter accounts will now go away. I no longer need the page of NY Times twitterers, or the Top 100, or even the Berkeley folk. So it makes sense that all the annotations, all the metadata that goes with a user, should also go with a list.  Permalink to this paragraph

People are going to want a way to suggest a new addition to a list, and people with lists are going to want a way to have new additions suggested.  Permalink to this paragraph

It should also be possible to include a list within another list. My friend Cori has a list of Bay Area people. She should be able to include my list of Berkeleyites, since Berkeley is in the Bay Area (of course). That way when I discover someone in Berkeley she automatically gets updated with that person.  Permalink to this paragraph

All the ideas that we had for OPML directories apply to Twitter lists.  Permalink to this paragraph

In fact there should be a way to export a list as OPML, and I think Twitter ought to do this, as a way to create systems that bridge in and out of Twitter hierarchies dynamically. Very powerful stuff. If they won't do it, I'm going to suggest that Matt get on top of this asap.  Permalink to this paragraph

I'm doing so much stuff with WordPress these days, I'm starting to see it a bit as a platform the same way I view Twitter. I wonder if that's why Matt embraced rssCloud so quickly? Heh.  Permalink to this paragraph

Anyway I have projects I'd like to try, but I'm really busy and probably won't get to them soon enough. If I were viewing lists as an entrepreneurial opportunity, the first place I'd explore is doing a list browser and editor, with a Suggest-A-User feature. If you want to start one of these, I'd be interested in participating, for equity.  Permalink to this paragraph

BTW, lists are obvious gold for search engines. Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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Last update: 10/29/2009; 4:48:44 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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