You're not on Twitter's suggested user list but you are in good company:

OK, so when Twitter came out with its Suggested User List I went through a bunch of emotions. Hatred. Jealousy. Self loathing. Blaming. Anger. Denial. All that kind of stuff. I have lashed out at it over the last few months here and there. Pissing off Tim O’Reilly and Veronica Belmont and a whole raft of other people. After all, I had more followers than any of my friends did before this list came along and now they all have millions of unearned followers that were gifted to them by winning a lottery called “the Suggested User List.” Also known as the “SUL.”

But the other day I heard Tony Robbins give a great speech at the Twitter Conference (the recording will be up soon, I hear, it will be a must watch) but he pointed out that looking at the world that way is destructive.

So, I went back to a talk that Jim Fawcette gave at one of our offsites back in the 1990s (he ran the magazine company that gave me my first job out of college). In that slide deck he pointed out that there were two kinds of people: those who viewed a half-full cup as half empty and those who looked at it as half full.

For most of 2009 I’ve been the half empty kind of guy when it came to the SUL.

Today, I thought I’d turn it around and look at it as half full.

First, lots of people are asking what the Suggested User List (aka SUL) is. That’s Twitter’s list of people it recommends to new users when they sign up for Twitter. Here’s Twitter’s own blog about what the list is and what it’s supposed to do and how it’s chosen (I don’t believe that the definition is given is right, but we’ll go with it). It has a few hundred people on it. How can you tell someone is on the Suggested User List? Well, if they have more than 150,000 followers they almost certainly are on the SUL because that’s the only way I’ve seen someone legitimately get that many followers. Oprah being the most famous example.

So, last night, I took a different tactic — a glass is half full one — where I went looking for really cool people who are NOT on the suggested user list. I Twittered a bunch, here’s the list, hope this helps you find some more people to follow. Please do share your own list in comments here, or on your own Twitter account.

These are in no particular order. Hope you enjoy!

Twitter’s founders @ev (Evan Williams, Twitter’s CEO and cofounder) @biz (Biz Stone, Twitter’s CEO) ARE ON the SUL (you can tell, they have more than a million followers). @dom (Dom Sagolla, Twitter co-creator and author of @thebook and co-founder of iPhone Dev Camp) is not (he was the eighth user of Twitter and one of the original team). @noah was one of two guys who came up with the idea, as the story goes, for Twitter and even he isn’t on the Suggested User List.

CNN’s @AmanpourCNN (Christiane Amanpour) is the best journalist on CNN and she can’t get on Twitter’s Suggested User List.

@OndiTimoner (Ondi Timoner) is the only movie director to win the Sundance Film Festival TWICE and she can’t get on Twitter’s Suggested User List (her movie “We Live in Public” is an awesome movie about the New York Internet Scene in the late 1990s and what happens when one group of people decides to live online 24/7).

@zefrank (Ze Frank) is funnier than anyone on the SUL but still isn’t on it. His videos on Time.com are must watch videos!

@Pierre (Pierre Omidyar) started eBay but can’t get into the Twitter Suggested User List. Of course Steve Case @stevecase started AOL but he can’t get on either (and he even gave a talk at Twitter’s headquarters a couple of weeks ago).

@OSTRICK (Marc Ostrick) did Obama’s campaign video and can’t get on the SUL.

@Zephoria (danah boyd, social media scholar) isn’t on it and she’s keynoting @sxsw next year that’s where Twitter got hot. Heck, @missrogue (Tara Hunt) wrote a book on how companies can increase their Whuffie and she isn’t on it.

You can write lyrics for the Grateful Dead, like @johnperrybarlow did (he also co-founded EFF), but that won’t get you on the SUL.

@paulocoelho (Paulo Coelho) wrote some of the most popular (and best) books ever and can’t get on Twitter’s SUL.

You can run camera for NBC at the White House, be on first-name basis with Obama, like @newmediajim (Jim Long) does, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can blog under government oppression like Isaac Mao does in China @isaac but that won’t get you on the SUL.

@IBMResearch invented the hard drive (among other things) and can’t get on Twitter’s SUL.

You can start Creative Commons like @lessig (Larry Lessig) did (he also argued a case in front of the US Supreme Court), but that won’t get you on the SUL.

@liamcasey (Liam Casey) makes lots of stuff you use in his supply chain company in China (you would be shocked), but isn’t on the SUL.

You can teach and make one of the most popular web 2.0/social media videos of all time (watched more than 10 million times), like @mwesch (Michael Wesch) did, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

There is 100x more smarts at MIT’s @medialab than most other places but they can’t get on Twitter’s Suggested User List.

My favorite recommendation site @yelp finds me lots of great places to eat but can’t get on Twitter’s SUL.

The coolest blog in the world @BoingBoing can’t get on Twitter’s Suggested User List, but then neither can @Lifehacker.

Every geek who uses @GogoInflight raves about it (wifi in airplanes) but they can’t get on Twitter’s Suggested User List.

@mattcutts (Matt Cutts) is Google’s best blogger and even he can’t get on Twitter’s Suggested User List.

@rsarver (Ryan Sarver) runs Twitter’s API team and he can’t get on Twitter’s Suggested User List but at least he probably has lots of Twitter stock options to make up for it.

You can run the Rhode Island School of Design like @johnmaeda (John Maeda) does but that won’t get you on the SUL.

@bramcohen invented Bittorrent and he can’t get on the SUL. @mcuban owns Dallas Mavericks and HDNet and can’t get on.

@scottgu (Scott Guthrie), who runs developer tools at Microsoft and is one of the smartest people I interviewed while I worked there, is not on the SUL.

Tim Bray, who is one of the authors of XML, is not on the SUL.

You can create Ask a Ninja like @kentnichols but the Ninjas can’t beat their way onto the SUL.

You can be a grammy nominated musician, like Peter Himmelman @furiousworld (great show, by the way to watch on Tuesday nights) but you won’t get on the SUL.

You can be a former rock star turned physicist who works at CERN and now is a famous face on the BBC, like Brian Cox @profBrianCox, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be President at the world’s largest hosting company, Rackspace, like Lew Moorman is @lewmoorman, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can know more people in the tech industry than anyone else, like Buzz Bruggeman, @buzzmodo, CEO of Activewords does, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be CEO of a big and important technology research firm, like George Colony @gcolony is of Forrester Research but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be the chief marketing officer of one of the largest retailers in the world, like Barry Judge, @BestBuyCMO, CMO for BestBuy, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can publish Global Voices online, one of the most important blogs I read like @EthanZ (Ethan Zuckerman) and @Rmack (Rebecca MacKinnon) do but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be a Republican Congressman from Texas who does videos from the floor of the House of Representatives, like John Culberson @johnculberson does, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be a conference where Bill Gates releases mosquitos, like @tedtalks did, on stage, but that doesn’t mean you will get on the SUL.

You can invent the wiki like @WardCunningham (Ward Cunningham) did but you won’t get on the SUL.

You can invent a lot of what made blogging possible, like Dave Winer @davewiner did, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can invest in Twitter, like Fred Wilson @fredwilson did, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can say Office and RSS and Comments are dead, like Steve Gillmor @stevegillmor has over the years, but that won’t get you on the SUL. Maybe the SUL is trying to tell Gillmor something? :-)

You can draw funny little cartoons on the backs of business cards, like Hugh Macleod @gapingvoid does (he also did the SXSW bags last year, and all the Techcrunch posters, among other things) but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be one of the best-known people in Tel Aviv, Israel, like Orli Yakuel @Orli is, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be one of Silicon Valley’s best and nicest investors, like Jeff Clavier is @jeff, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can run the Demo conference for more than 10 years, like Chris Shipley @cshipley did, where tons of famous companies have launched, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can say markets are conversations and co-write one of the most important business books of the past 20 years like Doc Searls @dsearls did but the SUL won’t let you onto it.

You can come up with the commercial web browser and do lots of other interesting things in technology but that won’t get Marc Andreessen @pmarcablog into the SUL.

You can hire three people to help you Tweet, like Guy Kawasaki @guykawasaki does (he has the most organically-grown Twitter followers that I know of), but that won’t help you get onto the SUL.

You can be the one who gets Scoble on FriendFeed, like Louis Gray is (and continues to find cool new social media startups before I do) @louisgray but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be a great photographer like Chase Jarvis @chasejarvis (who also has the coolest iPhone photo app out, released this week), Kris Krug @kk, or Thomas Hawk @thomashawk are, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be ultra cool robot maker @bre (Bre Petis) but you can’t get on the SUL (he founded MakerBot, which makes robots that make things). Neither can the smart people at @carnegiemellon (Carnegie Mellon University, which has one of the best robotics departments in the world).

You can teach everyone to make a mean cocktail like @drinkboy (Robert Hess) does (he also owns the Museum of the American Cocktail) but he can’t get on the SUL. He also is one of the smartest people at Microsoft and his team makes and evangelizes lots of bleeding-edge developer-focused stuff.

You can invent the spreadsheet, and co-found VisiCalc like @BobFrankston (Bob Frankston) and @danb (Dan Bricklin) did but you can’t get on the SUL.

Want a tour of Alcatraz? @rangercraig (Craig Glassner) does that every day to tons of tourists but can’t get on the SUL. He should lock Twitter co-founder @biz (Biz Stone) up! :-)

I blame Drew’s cancer that @drew (Drew Olanoff) isn’t on the SUL (he recently learned he had cancer and instead of letting cancer win, has started a movement with the hashtag #blamedrewscancer and has raised tons of money and awareness for organizations fighting cancer.

The @gatesfoundation (Bill and Melinda Gates and team) is making millions of people’s lives better but can’t get onto the SUL. Neither can most other charities/nonprofits.

If @facebook (Twitter’s top competitor, according to @ev Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter) got on Twitter’s SUL that would be funny! But imagine a world where Twitter gets that confident!

You can be a “sir” and one of the best speakers ever like @SirKenRobinson (Ken Robinson) but he can’t get on the SUL. (Look for his videos on Google, I especially like the one about how schools kill creativity).

The best writer at Fast Company magazine @ellmcgirt (Ellen McGirt, who has done cover articles on tons of interesting executives and causes) can’t get on the SUL.

He might be a key player in the HTML 5.0 spec, but @diveintomark (Mark Pilgrim) isn’t on the SUL.

Bob Cringely @cringely was one of first Apple employees, works for PBS, is one of smartest people I know, is building moon rockets, and can’t get on SUL.

Patrick Scoble @pscoble (Patrick Scoble) is my son and can’t get on the SUL, neither can my wife, @maryamie (Maryam Scoble).

@euan (Euan Semple) who worked in a senior position for the BBC is not on the SUL. Nor @charleneli or @jowyang who are great social media analysts.

Everyone I know in tech industry reads @techmeme but that can’t get onto the SUL (great tech news from blogs). Of course, the guy who invented Techmeme, Gabe Rivera @gaberivera, can’t get on the SUL either.

@Sequoia_Capital has more money than @god but can’t get on SUL. Neither can any other VC I can find.

This guy @tedr (Ted Rheingold) steps in dog poop so you don’t have to (he runs Dogster.com, which is very popular with dog owners) but can’t get on SUL.

Running Salesforce.com and getting the world to believe in cloud computing won’t get @MarcBenioff (Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com’s CEO) on the SUL.

If you read the “TwitterGate” papers that @techcrunch published you probably understand why @marissamayer (Marissa Mayer, Google VP) isn’t on the SUL. (The TwitterGate papers revealed that the Twitter team didn’t like her approach with them). Oh, and TechCrunch got kicked off of the SUL shortly after these were published and @arrington, who founded TechCrunch, has never been on the SUL.

Neither is @myspace.

@megnut (Meg Hourihan) was one of the cofounders of Blogger with @ev and she can’t get on the SUL. Neither can @LisaStone (LIsaStone) one of Blogher cofounders (famous blog and conference for women). In fact, none of the BlogHer cofounders, including @jorydj (Jory Des Jardins) and @ElisaC (Elisa Camahort) are on the SUL.

You can, like Shel Israel @shelisrael, co-author a book with me, write one of the best books about Twitter (Twitterville) and still not get on the SUL.

@kodakCB (Kodak’s chief blogger, Jennifer Cisney) has a better video camera (the Zi8) than the Flip and @stevegarfield (video blogging expert Steve Garfield) says so but neither can get on the SUL.

One of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley @tseelig (Tina Seelig) who runs entrepreneur program at Stanford University isn’t on the SUL.

@apatzer (Aaron Patzer) won techcrunch conference award two years ago and sold Mint.com for a Mint but can’t buy his way onto SUL.

MySpace might have just synced up with Twitter but @danidudeck who runs PR at MySpace isn’t on the SUL.

You can start Europe’s coolest music app (will be huge here too) called Spotify like Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) did but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can be a great designer, even one who works at Twitter, like @stop (Douglas Bowman) or one who doesn’t @veen (Jeffrey Veen) @zeldman (Jeffrey Zeldman) or @AvantGame (Jane McGonigal) but they can’t get on the SUL.

Some people believe Twitter is killing @googlereader but it cant get on the SUL. @bing is not Google and also isn’t SUL.

You can be the one who really made Twitter popular, like @leolaporte Leo Laporte did, but talking on his technology radio shows and on his podcast network about Twitter (which made it popular at @sxsw in 2007) but that won’t get you on the SUL.

@CERN started the web, might discover the meaning of life, or destroy the earth, depending on who you believe and is not on the SUL.

The NYTimes Tech team @nytimestech isn’t on the SUL. Neither is @huffingtonpost or @ariannahuff (very lame not to have them on it, after all, they have a seat at the White House but don’t have a slot on the SUL).

@nicknotned (Nick Denton) started Gawker, one of the most successful blog companies around, and he’s not on the SUL.

Hah @Microsoft isn’t on the SUL. But @Google is. @Yahoo ? Nope. @Oracle? Nope. @apple (doesn’t even Tweet!) @dell ? Nope. @hpnews ?Nope.

You can write the best gadget blogs in the business but you can’t get on the SUL: @engadget @gdgt @gizmodo @gearlive

@savitz (Eric Savitz) covers tech for Barrons and isn’t on SUL.

You can be CTO of Amazon like @werner (Werner Voegels) is but that won’t get you on the SUL.

The geeky and good @hackernewsbot (my favorite geek news after @techcrunch and @techmeme) isn’t on the SUL.

A great follow @MichaelHyatt (Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers) publishes more bibles than anyone and he can’t get on the SUL. @god isn’t either. @RickWarren (Rick Warren, who runs one of USA’s biggest independent churches, and did Obama’s innvocation) isn’t either.

You can start one of the top three most popular websites, like Craig Newmark @craignewmark, did (Craig’s List) but that won’t get you onto the SUL.

You can sell more than five million records as a rapper, like @Chamillionaire has, but that won’t get you on the SUL.

You can start Apple, be one of the only people alive on earth who has designed and built their own computer from scratch, not to mention be a damn nice guy, like Steve Wozniak is @stevewoz, but you won’t get onto the SUL.

Anyway, I could keep going. There are hundreds of thousands of interesting people who aren’t on the SUL. I personally wish that Twitter would just get rid of it.

It is causing Twitter’s engagement scores to go down and I believe that this has been one of the reasons that Twitter’s usage scores have started to go down.

See, if you slap your community in the face with something that isn’t merit based then people lose interest in your service and go elsewhere.

How to fix this? Get rid of the list altogether. Turn off follower counts for everyone and come up with a new “engagement score” that is more focused on how you use Twitter and how people engage with you. That’s more important anyway than how many followers you have, especially since so many followers are lurkers at best or bots and spammers at worst.

It’s time to change the game Twitter. Or leave the door open to Facebook.

Oh, and only one person I know of has turned down being on the Suggested User List. That’s NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen.

Update: my real “SUL” (Scoble’s User List) is the 3,267 people/brands/objects I’m following (which include all these stars and many other innovative people). Follow me @scobleizer and then troll through the list of people I’m following.

Comments

  1. You're entitled to your opinion, or course, but I would have to say “WRONG”. Fareed Zakaria is the best journalist on CNN by a mile. He is the standard by which all others should be judged… IMHO, of course.

  2. This is a nice idea you have here, Robert, to make up an alternate list. Regardless of whatever list building technique one wants to use, though, I do think that the SUL is a bit of an unfair advantage.
    On the other hand, though, they become even easier targets for the spammers, so there's a downside to being on the SUL

  3. The fact that the SUL is based on purely arbitrary factors to which we the users are not privy is just the way it is.
    I'm sure twitter just launched it as a way of getting newbies into the swing of things and to help them look cool by showcasing their celebritiy users

    The average user not only gets no value from the SUL but probably couldnt care less about it.

    It seems a little sour grapes to me that you made such a big deal about it – your tweets a few days ago come across a tad bitter and resentful. – Dont sweat it dude – like you said HALF FULL.

    At the end of the day we know the value YOU bring to the table – dont stress that the infantile SUL doesn't

  4. I could care less about the sponsored users list… I've skipped it every time I'v ever created a twitter account. I prefer to discover great twitter users organically through my own network, and through interesting tools like Mr. Tweet or Sherflock.

    You've put together a really interesting list Robert, and already that is more valuable to me than the SUL… I don't see the point in wasting any energy talking about, arguing about, or being upset by the SUL.

  5. I rather have people like you Robert on the list who care enough to follow people back. What is the point of being on the list when someone can't even return the favor. I find it utterly pathetic when someone has 500,000 + followers and is only following 10.

    Just wondering, is Jack Dorsey on the SUL?

  6. Yeah, Jack is on the SUL. Anyone who has more than 150,000 followers MUST be on the SUL. There's no other way to get that many followers unless you're Barack Obama or Oprah and even they were gifted millions of people by being on the SUL.

  7. FANTASTIC list. I'm not on the SUL, but I'm not world famous (yet) either. Regardless, the best people I know on Twitter aren't anywhere near the SUL. A new engagement metric could do a lot to revitalize quality conversation on Twitter, like we had back in the day, when we still used GTalk for Twitter instead of all these apps.

  8. Good point! Overall great blog post, I was just putting in a word for ma dude Fareed. Yeah, you must have pissed someone off, because you really should be on that list.

  9. I like the idea of removing the follower count altogether. It does not signify anything. The amount of followers does not signify how important your tweets are going to be or you could use them in anyway.
    If they do come up with an engagement score, it would make it much more interesting and people would interact more rather then blindly following someone and then never looking at their tweets.

  10. I will never follow anyone in the SUL. Here’s why:

    1. Their content, in general, is not within my interests. Don’t want to follow Hollywood gossip.

    2. For many of them, I’m just a number, so if they don’t care about my content why should I care about theirs.

    3. Most of them don’t follow back, so I don’t see any reason to break my balance, unless I really find the guy interesting to follow.

    4. Personally, I don’t have any interaction with any of them. They don’t answer back, nor read most of the messages their followers create. It’s too hard to read and filter info with so much noise around.

    5. For many of them, the followers are just “tools” to spread the word about a new project, album, films, whatsoever. I ain’t a fanboy. Sorry!

    6. Finally, why would anyone co-operate with a system that is so mysterious, unclear and undoubtedly biased…

  11. I will never follow anyone in the SUL. Here’s why:

    1. Their content, in general, is not within my interests. Don’t want to follow Hollywood gossip.

    2. For many of them, I’m just a number, so if they don’t care about my content why should I care about theirs.

    3. Most of them don’t follow back, so I don’t see any reason to break my balance, unless I really find the guy interesting to follow.

    4. Personally, I don’t have any interaction with any of them. They don’t answer back, nor read most of the messages their followers create. It’s too hard to read and filter info with so much noise around.

    5. For many of them, the followers are just “tools” to spread the word about a new project, album, films, whatsoever. I ain’t a fanboy. Sorry!

    6. Finally, why would anyone co-operate with a system that is so mysterious, unclear and undoubtedly biased…

  12. cranky old farts can't get on it either :) .. actually the SUL has always struck me as a form of ass-kissing and has a low value IMO. While I had a number of your selections already picked there were some that I definitely glad you pointed to – Thanks Robert

  13. Your listed has great names…and I couldn't agree more.

    However, the average Twitter user is more concerned with celebrities and athletes…I'm sure Twitter is aware of this, and is merely supplying what is in high demand.

  14. Robert- In the spirit of making empowering distinctions:

    A winner judges himself by the standard of excellence in his field.
    A loser judges himself by the standard of mediocrity in his field.

    A winner says, “I am good but not as good as I ought to be.”
    A loser says, “I am not as bad as a lot of other people.”

    A winner would rather be respected than liked, although he would prefer both.
    A loser would rather be liked than respected, and is willing to pay the price of mild contempt for it.

    A winner respects those that are superior to him, and tries to learn something from them.
    A loser resents those who are superior to him, and tries to find chinks in their armor.

    A winner knows that the verb ‘to be’ must precede the verb ‘to have.’
    A loser thinks that enough of the verb ‘to have’ is what makes the verb ‘to be.’

    What we give away we keep, for it is in the giving that we receive. What we keep to ourselves we loose, for in the keeping we cannot reproduce. When we die we take with us only that which we have given away.

    Oh, and 'ego' stands for 'edging God out'.

    Peace out!

    The @CitySourced crew

  15. Robert's SUL happening brings us two things: a great alternative SUL list, and debate about the SUL selection process. Some months ago Jason Calcanis said he was ready to pay a lot to be on the list, which spurred Dave Winer to make an early public statement against the arbitrary favoritism. It's hard to see how the selection could be made more rational, unless of course you put it up to public vote. Other than that, it could just be junked. Are new users really too dumb to find people to follow by themselves? That's the easy part. It would be more logical to give new users a set of FOLLOWERS to get them started.

  16. You know, it's funny that for all the technological advancements–and you are obviously a technically savvy guy–the old-fashioned sentiment that no matter how many people do something (or, in this case, follow someone), that's no proof that it (or they) are worth even a pile of used Kleenex seems to escape you.

  17. That social media is the next step in the evolution of human interaction, inching us ever forward to a platform that brings out the best in mankind and makes that accessible to everyone. Where education and information is freely exchanged with no expectations from the giver. Contributing and participating in the hope of making the world better for our species

    A Utopia sure, but a step in the right direction.

    Giving to get, is a step back towards Gordon Gecko. Selfish and destructive.

  18. That's a great list of people you put together. Very true that the #of followers is due to be augmented by a better metric.
    SUL, RSS, I love your Scoble-friendly acronyms- what's next?

  19. Twitter is, unfortunatly, a popularity contest. Having # of followers being a factor was just like how many friends you had on MySpace.

    What would happen if Twitter got rid of the SUL and instead made a better search to find people talking about what you want to see? I think you would see lower follower numbers but better engagement.

    Now, get rid of the following #s and do NOT replace it with a “engagement score.”

    Yeah, it might not experience massive growth but I think it would make Twitter a lot more useful. (How many million more “Internet Marketers” and “Social Media Experts” does Twitter need trying to game the score?)

  20. This delicious list counteracts any envy I feel for Twitter's SUL (as if any envy I have is remotely justified :o) But then again, I'm not jealous of the bookmarks and RSS lists preloaded into browsers … Twitter's SUL would be more distressing if it were a preloaded list of follows in new accounts! (Note to Twitter: Revenue stream!)

    I suspect that Twitter's SUL could reasonably be limited to two categories: (1) media figures and media outlets – common denominators – that a large percent of new users would search for and (2) active Tweeters who are just exemplary filters and participants, serving and engaging in ways that would welcome new users and set the bar high.

    These categories exclude many of our thought heroes and cerebral idols – and they're deprived of the positive network effects. But still I'm not sure they're appropriate on a preloaded menu for newbies. Some of those leading thinkers aren't exemplary Twitter users, after all. (Wouldn't we love to have Marc Andreessen Tweet – or return to blogging – as prolifically as he speaks?!)

    It's obvious that you qualify as an exemplary user and leading thinker. But the people who should find you will.

  21. Wow….There’s the glass half full people, there’s the glass half empty people and then there’s the people who will drown in a glass of water….

    This really HAS been bugging you! But shouldn’t. By doing so it’s letting other people, and in this case, an arbitrary list made by other people, define you. This is a list that people see only for a moment in their lives, when they sign up for twitter, then it’s gone. Only on Twitter, only for a moment for new users, and only for those who bother to go through it and sign up for follow people on it. Who cares?

    Having said that, I like your list, despite the dark place it comes from :). Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

  22. I've never understood why you just can't let this go…it seems like such a silly/childish thing to get worked up about, especially when there are real problems in the world. The SUL is mostly celebrities, athletes, and famous people who appeal to newbies not familiar with our tech world.

    If your mission in life was to get on Twitter's SUL, then you've failed, but seriously…you're still the same remarkable Scobleizer regardless of whether or not you have 150,000 new mainstream followers who've never heard of you…

    There are millions of people who deserve the recognition that they never got, that's pretty much the nature of life.

    You also might want to check out TweepML if you're interested in having your own SUL… (http://mashable.com/2009/09/09/tweepml-twitter-…)

  23. I think there are many ways of determining a SUL! We talk about social media here, and I think Twitter will not be fair to those people who are most recommended to follow based on their internal staff's formulated opinion! Everybody has their take of who we should follow, and here's my thoughts of the different ways:

    1) We have #followfriday every friday of people recommending who we should follow

    2) We have Mr Tweet where we can recommend people with our reason

    3) We even have people who blog about it like what you have done.

    4) It also makes sense why we should follow the list of people our respected friend has followed.

    I guess Twitter may as well let those new followers know who they should follow through these few methods, other than just telling up straight and cause all the jealousy… :)

  24. You've justpaid it forward in a big way…hope it adds Dom Perignon to your class. Labels are for users. Who needs SUL–you've just created yor own hypelist here. Thanks!

  25. You've justpaid it forward in a big way…hope it adds Dom Perignon to your class. Labels are for users. Who needs SUL–you've just created yor own hypelist here. Thanks!

  26. So many of the people I have had public conversations are on the list and I gotta tell you, I agree. The glass appears to be half full this time around. When people like Euan Semple, Leo Laporte, Louis Gray, and Shel Israel are not on the list, I can't possibly feel bad any longer that I am also not on that list. It's definitely interesting to me that you aren't there but optimism is good :)

  27. So many of the people I have had public conversations are on the list and I gotta tell you, I agree. The glass appears to be half full this time around. When people like Euan Semple, Leo Laporte, Louis Gray, and Shel Israel are not on the list, I can't possibly feel bad any longer that I am also not on that list. It's definitely interesting to me that you aren't there but optimism is good :)

  28. So many of the people I have had public conversations are on the list and I gotta tell you, I agree. The glass appears to be half full this time around. When people like Euan Semple, Leo Laporte, Louis Gray, and Shel Israel are not on the list, I can't possibly feel bad any longer that I am also not on that list. It's definitely interesting to me that you aren't there but optimism is good :)

  29. That's smart. I used to get discouraged even at work, when I'd see others I felt didn't work as hard reaping benefits that I thought I should be reaping as well, if not more. My boss said, “you can't compare what you have to what others have, or else you will constantly be disappointed.” I get sad that I am not Twitter verified, too, but I let that go. lol. So I understand where you are coming from, and am glad you shared this list for all who weren't up and reading your rant the other night. There are some great finds in here that I definitely follow. But wouldn't everyone want earned followers anyway? I certainly do.

  30. I'm the first to call people out for taking self-serving actions in social media but this is hardly the case. And I've never hesitated to disagree with Scoble and he knows that. But I think it's clear that he is trying to turn something that was negative to him — and negative to others — into a positive one by giving a significant amount of deserving folks some attention and spotlight. An important part of social media is promoting others. He is promoting others. Just because he's expressing his own emotions while doing it does not make him selfish.

  31. Cool list and great content. I am over the SUL as well….Many people did get on it and are now beyond the “popularity”. Thing is everyone get's 15 minutes of fame but if you are not ready or don't know what to do in those 15 minutes than you are just an average Joe the ….

    Let me guess Robert many ppl are upstet because they are not even on your list? hahaha

    PS: Tony Robbins rocks….I have all his motivational DVD's! ….and he actually made me drive succesfull blogs as you know which ones…

  32. I never thought i would comment on a blog post from my iphone, but you made me. First of all, a great list (although you forgot the great @speakingenglish podcast ;-) ). There were a few i was missing.
    As for twitter's SUL, i guess we are seeing an old school business model with a 'new' company and we don't like it. Maybe twitter also did not anticipate the social consequences of the list.
    With the last round of funding though, sympathy and understanding will go down.

  33. I never thought i would comment on a blog post from my iphone, but you made me. First of all, a great list (although you forgot the great @speakingenglish podcast ;-) ). There were a few i was missing.
    As for twitter's SUL, i guess we are seeing an old school business model with a 'new' company and we don't like it. Maybe twitter also did not anticipate the social consequences of the list.
    With the last round of funding though, sympathy and understanding will go down.

  34. entirely agree – it can be really hard to find people with particular specialist interests – and that would certainly increase interaction/exchanges/communication

  35. I'm not a fan of the SUL either Robert, as you may recall. Serious question, though: if, out of the blue, Twitter added you to the SUL, would you accept that spot, and if so, would you then continue to be as vocal about the injustices of exclusion for everybody else?

  36. I think you are not there yet – at the half-full place.

    This is a great list, and if it wouldn't have “Doesn't make it on SUL” “Can't make it to SUL” in every sentence it wouldn't be too repetetive to read.” I got bored by this redundancy. The headline of the posting already told me what I will find and I looked very much forward to that. The only thing you mentione 150 times is SUL:-)

    I like how you celebrate the people and give tribute and credit where it's due. Thank you for that…. I just need to copy/paste the list and purge the “Suggested User List, half sentence.”
    Then it would be a great post to RT:-)

  37. Kinda amazing, but I found and was following most of these folks even without the help of the Twitter SUL. Quality tweets, blog post and the thoughts behind them always finds their way to the top, in spite of the “top lists” that hide them. Thanks for the list!

    PS follow my dog @dogwalkblog As far as I know, there are ZERO dogs on the Twitter SUL and if Rufus ever made it there, I would follow Jay Rosen and decline. Not just anyone can scratch his ears ;-)

  38. Kinda amazing, but I found and was following most of these folks even without the help of the Twitter SUL. Quality tweets, blog post and the thoughts behind them always finds their way to the top, in spite of the “top lists” that hide them. Thanks for the list!

    PS follow my dog @dogwalkblog As far as I know, there are ZERO dogs on the Twitter SUL and if Rufus ever made it there, I would follow Jay Rosen and decline. Not just anyone can scratch his ears ;-)

  39. I am dead. See http://www.xmltoday.org/content/mobster-spam-an… Everyday lot of Britney want to do very bad things with me. But MafiaDeadMan@Dinesco Will probably buy a Winchester 30/30. Am I right or may I find better. Just to prevent from Internet administrative disconnection ! Et en français dans le texte MafiaDeadMan @fredbascunana Normal puisque je suis officiellement décédé. Cependant, même mort j'ai faim et soif. ETIAM mortuus bibeo

  40. My phantom will have few followers and followings, but how to see precisely what a Bot is doing and how many Zombies are following you but not declared as. I am in fact the skull of Yorrick

  41. Twitter suggested user list sucks, plain and simple. Why don't they offer me people that actually are reflective of the content in my profile that might actually interact with me?

  42. I discovered the potential of emerging technologies like Twitter because I followed people like Robert a few years ago, when a select group of early adopters had influence. Thanks to Twitter especially, we're all early adopters now (or can be).

    So here's my theory about Robert, Twitter and his NOT being on the SUL. Timeline:

    A) Robert is the Pied Piper of Twitter during its first year (lovefest kicks off at SXSW)
    B) Discovers FriendFeed, waxes endlessly about how superior Friendfeed, abandons Twitter and is stunned everyone else doesn't follow.
    C) Twitter takes off like a rocket, suggested user list appears (along w/celebrities, media, etc). Robert realizes he missed a huge op to connect with hundreds of thousands of Tweeps, if not a million-plus. And sorry folks, but numbers like that are hypnotic and the list of things you can do and accomplish when connected to that many people, is long.
    D) bitter, can't understand why Twitter won't put HIM on the SUL. (see part about Friendfeed)
    E) now having found peace (wink ;-) … trying to regain original leadership status with pieces like this that aren't about the numbers (wink ;-) or getting on the SUL (WINK WINK ;-). Nod to Twitter brass in first group he suggests aside ….

    Did I miss anything? ;-)

  43. wow…thank you so much for your list. Twitter is only as useful as what we choose to make it, and you’ve helped admirably.

  44. Scoble — you've put a great list together here and I thiank you for it.

    However, it doesn't pass what I call “the in-laws” test. — would my in-laws back on Long Island know or care about those people and want to follow them? For better than 80% of that list the answer is “no”. They want to follow Kanye and Oprah and people with more mainstream fame, not the people who matter to us here inside the Valley Bubble.

    Frankly I think any SUL is going to be problematic to someone, given how big Twitter's userbase is now. A better approach would be for Twitter to suggest some of the people your friends are following (a la Facebook).

  45. Interesting. While brand building personal/corporate is an important task, I don't believe being on SUL really makes me less or more of a success, cause once guys figure out just how boring I am, they will leave, so a SUL recommendation really does not matter, so I'd rather remain with my own friends and associates and those who follow me cause I guess, they need to follow me cause we know each other and it would be rude not too, and I guess its easier for them to find out if I am alive the next day, or maybe I just happen to be lucky.

  46. I love you! Found you without their help because of what you bring to the discussion. Thanks this is a great list and I congrats on your new view of life – more full than not :)

  47. I love you and found you all by my little self because of the great contribution you make to the world and tech. Sharing what's in your head, honestly, is valuable to all of us. Thanks for this great list with a bit of history included. I learned some interesting facts about some of the players. :)

  48. Great read, Robert.
    Here are some of my thoughts:
    1. Re: Half full/half empty dilemma. Here is a third perspective from an engineer: How much is really in the cup?

    2. That makes me wonder How Much Value is in that “half-full/half-empty” SUL? It's obvious from your additions that there is a HUGE amount missing. So one very good reason for the list was to give you the inspiration/motivation to clue your followers like me a host of other great minds to follow.

    3. Final thought before proceeding with other online activities [which could include sharing on Twitter @sharisax]: The SUL list reminds me of the current discussion on “Who is a Social Media Expert?”

    How on earth can anyone “claim” to be an “expert” when great new stuff is invented every single day?

    The SUL list [which I haven't checked out] is probably full of “experts” who may or may not be Thought Leaders — like you, Louis, Guy, maybe even me — all of whom are “out there” trying to make sense [and dollars] from this exciting revolution in communication, technology, business, life.

  49. You should have disclosed that the publication you write for, Mashable, is on the SUL. Seems like it's easy to dismiss other people when you are already on the SUL and benefiting from it (as all writers for Mashable do). Mashable had fewer followers than I did before being added to this list, now has 1.5 million. All gifted to them. It has reinvigorated Mashable's business in a big way, too, and I note that now Mashable writes about Twitter many times more often than before, so this gift worked.

    I also note that Mashable doesn't write about “real problems in the world.” So, what the heck?

    The suggestion to check out TweepML is a good one, though.

  50. Tony Robbins isn't for everyone but he DID do one of the best keynotes I've ever seen at the Twitter Conference last week. It was so good that he ran 1.5 hours over time and no one cared. I've never seen that happen and I've been to a LOT of conferences.

  51. that is the greatness of Scoble i think he does act like a commoner even though he is not one, it gives us the commoners a smile to see someone is there who would respond to us even, on the other hand even you might not reply (haven't tried yet) to us, Thanks Scoble it was worth reading as always, you have huge processors and a great lot of RAM on your brain i think

  52. When you tell other people that their use of social media is wrong you come across as far worse than selfish and egotistical. I'd rather stay on this side of that line.

  53. Nice. I had the same similar idea recently too and was hoping more people would do this instead of just tweeting quick Follow Friday suggestions: http://www.attentiondigital.com/suggested-users

    Anybody who works in marketing or advertising should know about these people if they aren't following them already. I follow 574 people and maybe only a couple of them are on the SUL simply because Twitter does not know anything about my interests.

  54. There are probably a fair number of people who have over 150,000 followers who aren’t on the SUL. Felicia Day, Neil Gaiman and Wil Wheaton come to mind.

  55. I never even looked at the SUL, but one of the funniest Twitter Moments I ever had was following Scoble while he was twitting his own list through the night. Name after name after name — it was ludicrous to see the people the SUL left out.

    I'm glad to see you've collected them all here, Robert: thanks a lot. This is certainly a list I can relate to! Great job.

  56. Thank you so much for the introductions. Most notable find for me in this list is @tsleeg

    Also, I would like to say as a newbie to twitter (2 months now) I was given the impression it was all about celebrities, large news, the big guys oh and the vultures.. I got this impression from the suggested user list. It is pure accident that I stumbled on to quality, business, innovative, leaders. This brings up a very important need that that needs to be met. How do we find who we are looking for on twitter? So far I have spent a lot of time and effort building the list that I have. I do like my celebrity tweeters as well though, I have an understanding how each of them tweets. I know which ones that are making history and making things happen and I followed one right to friend feed.

  57. Jennifer thanks for the comment :) My view is coloured by various prejudices (hasn't that become a dirty word?).

    1. I don't see the SUL as a negative and I certainly don't think anyone should demand their name be on it just because they are “big on the internet” ;)
    2. Promoting others for your own gain is not what social media is about for me. Maybe I am reading him wrong and he is being selfless and giving up on feeling that he somehow deserves to be there?

    Appreciate your opinion . Thanks

  58. Great list and hysterical comments to your post. I wonder how many of these people will now (or have) made the SUL because of your post. You should do some analysis as a before and after you made this post to see if any of the recommendations end up on SUL.

    I followed about 50 of the recommendations and am learning a lot following them already. Some more than others of course.

    Hey maybe I will one day end up on SUL if I tweet enough interesting comments; however, probably need to end up on a Jimmy Fallon show and have my twitter id displayed before that will happen though.

    - @jayfeitlinger (http://www.twitter.com/jayfeitlinger) :-)

  59. Great list and hysterical comments to your post. I wonder how many of these people will now (or have) made the SUL because of your post. You should do some analysis as a before and after you made this post to see if any of the recommendations end up on SUL.

    I followed about 50 of the recommendations and am learning a lot following them already. Some more than others of course.

    Hey maybe I will one day end up on SUL if I tweet enough interesting comments; however, probably need to end up on a Jimmy Fallon show and have my twitter id displayed before that will happen though.

  60. I agree with you Robert on the business of Twitter and users who's business is affected by Twitter, but the SUL has nothing with my personal use of Twitter. I follow people that interest me and I don't need a lot of followers. My suggestion to Twitter is that they constantly rotate the SUL and use an outside advisory board to pick the SUL members. Right now it looks too corrupt.

  61. Someone needs to invent a plugin for Firefox, which enables you to follow Twitterers without having to leave this page or other pages with Twitter IDs listed. Or is there one?

  62. Someone needs to invent a plugin for Firefox, which enables you to follow Twitterers without having to leave this page or other pages with Twitter IDs listed. Or is there one?

  63. I wouldn't say it's worse. I thought about this long and hard and thought, “Yep I am prepared to fight for the ideal”. Same as I will fight against the spam accounts, I certainly think they aren't doing it right.

    I can't help how you feel about my comments, but I certainly feel good that I have expressed them, even at the risk of being bullied by someone who is “big on the internet”.

  64. Never thought to follow CERN so I do now and ask a ninja seems like a funny idea but I couldnt be bothered attempting to penetrate the website beyond the first page. Nevermind but a good list to go on with God knows how one is meant to have the time to do all this.

  65. I never understood how some one can suggest a list without knowing anything about the interests of the user. There are no profile questions or request for keywords when you sign up. I always skipped Twitter's recommendation (have a few accounts). I actually go to wefollow.com and look at some of the categories I am interested in. Even that is not a great list since they use the follower count to rank people instead of the relevance to the category. Well. That shows that there is a lot of chance to improve this stuff.

    Thanks for the list. I need to think about an app that matches my interests. So far have not found anything that satisfactory.

  66. I never understood how some one can suggest a list without knowing anything about the interests of the user. There are no profile questions or request for keywords when you sign up. I always skipped Twitter's recommendation (have a few accounts). I actually go to wefollow.com and look at some of the categories I am interested in. Even that is not a great list since they use the follower count to rank people instead of the relevance to the category. Well. That shows that there is a lot of chance to improve this stuff.

    Thanks for the list. I need to think about an app that matches my interests. So far have not found anything that satisfactory.

  67. Robert,
    You're not mainstream.

    You are on the inside of the techie world and therefore, most mainstream people wouldn't even understand your language.

    Is it so important to your livelihood that you have so many Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed followers or so many comments on your blog or live feeds?

    Or is it more important to provide your readers with content they can use?

    I guess if I had thousands of readers and hundreds of comments on my blog all the time I'd start to take it for granted as well – I'm only human.

  68. Twitter has such a rapidly growing list of users, it's almost impossible to keep up with all the great accounts you should be following. I'd rather have a small list of interactive followers than a huge following who doesn't pay attention or respond- so while it's nice to get that kind of recognition Twitter's SUL provides, I'm ok with not making the cut.

  69. I'll add them all to my list of people to follow on Twitter, but… Robert, being super interesting and relevant in the real world doesn't mean that you have that great of a presence on Twitter.

    I won't call anyone out, but some pretty brilliant folks I admire (and who usually fascinate me) couldn't post something relevant or interesting on Twitter if their lives depended on it. And many of them never engage or respond. They just post some insipid little quote or observation once a week and move on.

    So… As much as I want to say yeah, let's turn this thing on its head, you still kind of have to look at Twitter as its own universe: Content and engagement matter, and if many of these fine people want to get on the SUL,perhaps they could learn to bring a little more of their genius and energy to Twitter. Know what I mean? ;)

  70. This really isn't a “half full” view of the SUL as you put it. It's just another way to complain about how the SUL works and why certain people you feel are worthy should be on it. A legit half full view would be to look at the value that users do get from the way the SUL works today instead of critiquing who isn't on it.

    I don't think many of the suggested users are great choices to follow, but admittedly I have found more than a few to follow that way.

    As others have mentioned, I'm not sure why you have such strong feelings for the way the SUL works — it's Twitter's perogative to use it however they want. It's not “Scoble's SUL”.

    Having said that, I agree with everyone else so far, this is a great list you put together and I picked out a few new people to follow. Thanks!

  71. Bonjour!
    When your new baby was born, did you give him a list of “who to follow”? Of course you did not. And you will show him step by step how to discover friends in strangers, without guidelines and buzz drama.
    For me Twitter is like Life, I pick who I want to be around and I avoid the other ones. I don't even care if they follow me back. This is not a deal. It is all about engaging and sharing and keeping an eye on your people.
    Who cares who they are on a list. The only list is in the heart of the Twitterer.
    Voila!
    @CatherineGrison

  72. I love your 6 points, you are absolutely right! These people are never going to follow you back or engage in a meaningful conversation once in a while then why bother following them.

  73. I’m sorry to read that you can’t get away from “glass-half-empty” thinking. All you did was list other people who, if they also had your “glass-half-empty” view of the world, might also feel slighted that they aren’t on the SUL. I suspect that most of those people really do have a “glass-half-full” view of the world, and they don’t care that they aren’t on the list.

    It would be nice to see you post a true “glass-half-full” article, and look at the truly good things about the situation. If you can’t find any, then the glass isn’t half full, it’s just empty in your view. In which case just say so.

  74. I can't imagine clicking through every profile you linked to, although I would probably like to follow most of them based on your recommendation. I'm sure it took you a fortnight to put this post together with links, any chance you would throw it up on http://tweepml.org/ so we could have a quick one-click place to follow?

    -@mattsingley

  75. Or you could follow the single greatest guitarist/linguist/martial artist/nerd/amateur smart ass named @hackerhaus on the web! I'm not on the SUL. I think that makes me seem a little bit cooler than I actually am.

  76. I don't see Scobleizer demanding to be on the SUL, just questioning Twitter's criteria for putting people on it. I think it's great that high-profile real people are protesting celebrity hype in the world of social media.

  77. Saw Tony Robbins live at the tc140 and was blow away like EVERY person in the room. Still thinking about his lecture/keynote/sermon/presentation. He literally had us jumping in the isles for joy!

  78. Over a year ago you wrote a great piece about twitter and how it wasn't about followers, it was about who “you follow”. I lived by that for a while then got away from it. My twitter experience changed and not for the better. I have now gone back to follow great people and found my interactions are better and more conversations happening. It should NOT be about the number of followers you have! You can't keep up with 100,000 plus followers! It's crazy to believe one could do that. I don't know what the number is, but since I started deleting folks the noise has been less! If you could find that article and re post it, you'll find it valuable again!

  79. First I have to say I LOVE this statement:
    “If @facebook (Twitter’s top competitor, according to @ev Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter) got on Twitter’s SUL that would be funny! But imagine a world where Twitter gets that confident!”
    I laughed out loud when I read that one.

    And secondly, I might agree with you as far as getting rid of the list, but I don't know if I can back up the idea of removing the follower count. Too many people (even me, I'll be honest) like to see how many people they have in their network.

    However, I do get irritated at the nobodies who mass follow people and then mass unfollow people to try and make it look like they are someone special or something. It's kinda lame.

    And finally, you shouldn't take it too personally that you aren't on the list. In fact you are with the majority on this one. But you are a fabulous writer and the fact that you have 113 people commented on this post before I ever even got here, I bet I'm not the only one who thinks that with as much research and thought you put into it, you should be. And I am definitely going to be following you on twitter.

  80. Hi!

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  81. Well said Kurt,

    Robert, this is just a load of sour grapes & hubris.

    From a lowly point of view, whats the big deal about the number of followers anyway, when you don't interact with them from your lofty ivory tower ?

    I have twice Tweeted you with a valid request for some advice, seeing as you are the self declared king of social media … more than 6 weeks later & no response ….

  82. I can't reply to everyone. Sorry. And, worse, you made me feel guilty without even including the Tweet URL here so I can't even see what you're talking about.

  83. If there's one thing I take away from this post, it's that Robert Scoble would do best to create a twollow of his own, then allow it to be crowd sourced by members of various communities. For instance, I may be great to follow for folks interested in self help, social design, or even leadership (@Victusfate shameless plug), but I may give terrible tech startup advice.

    Super democratic influence grading by us for us!

  84. Great points. It reminds me of why I stopped following back at 2200 and actively pruning my input stream. Engagement and thoughtful sharing is what I'm after in twitter. That means sharing my good finds, my blog, and commenting on others great shares. I'm overloaded at 2k, and am in dire need of semantic auto filtering which Twitter doesn't provide. I'm also interested in building connections that are owned by me, not an outside company which may make decsions about my social contacts that I don't want to live with.

    Open social media fed through a semantic engine (I'm looking at you Zemanta ;) is my next project. I imagine it will unlock slightly larger follow lists and two way search.

  85. I still think it’s all akin to the list of the “popular” kids in school. What happened to taking the time to see what works for you and who you should connect with? Our parents rarely picked our friends. Since when do we let other tell us with whom we should associate?

  86. The SUL is silly and suggests that Twitter finds new users too lacking to find their own interesting set of people to follow. I found my way into the Twitterverse by following all of the environmental organizations I care about. I also looked at the SUL, followed some of those suggestions, got bored with most of those people and wandered off in other directions. Twitter could replace the SUL with instructions for a new user explaining how to search for people within specific areas of interest. Beyond that, let people make their own way and let those who are interesting and vital with something to share that inspires become more widely followed because of what they have to offer. That would be an interesting model; kind of like life.

  87. Got to say though that I lost a friend through recommending them on Mr. Tweet. They REALLY went to town on me, then unfollowed me. :( I'd thought it was a compliment – I've certainly taken it that way when I've been recommended. Anyone enlighten me?

    Great post by the way. I think you make some good points and I understand your feelings on this.

  88. Couldn't there be a bunch of tick boxes? For example, you tick what interests you when you sign up – so for one person 'celebrities' might be on the list and for others it could be 'books'. Then twitter just gives you a list of people talking about those things at that time and you find your own way round it, choosing who to follow based on their tweets. Yes, people would follow 'whales' but they'd also follow interesting newbies. Just a thought.

    BTW I think the points made in the post are valid and if you genuinely think how long it would take YOU to put together a list like that, you'll probably find that it wouldn't be an entirely selfish action. A selfish person wouldn't put in the time.

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