My world has changed (and I get to share with you)

Twitter’s new list feature is one of those things that seems simple on the surface and is easily ignored.

But it has deeply changed how I get my news and how I interact with the tech community.

Click through these lists and you’ll see a different world than you would have thought possible on Twitter. This is the order I visit the lists in the morning:

Tech News Brands. Here’s 500 tech news sources. Everything from the Wall Street Journal to TechCrunch. Watch this list for a few minutes and you’ll be up to date on what’s happening in tech right now. This is far more complete than Techmeme or Google News and far faster too.

Once I’ve gotten up to date on the news, I check out the people who write and produce the news. Here you’ll find 491 journalists and bloggers and see what the back channel is. Often this is more interesting than the tech news brands, but it’s lots of fun to flip back and forth while some big news story is breaking.

Want to know what the news will be tomorrow? Well, the rich guys who are funding companies often know what will be big and so I watch this list of 415 venture capitalists and angel investors to see what they are thinking about.

The venture capitalists, though, are fun to contrast with 447 people who founded their own companies. Often these two lists have divergent points of view that are fun to flip back and forth between.

After all that I visit the tech pundits list. These are 451 folks who love to tell you what they think happened.

If you’re an entrepreneur I’ve built a list of weapons for you. Everything from stationary companies to Yammer, for keeping your team up to date. This is still a list in progress, so if you have a company that has a weapon for entrepreneurs, let me know!

What about tech company executives? I have a list of 283 who are CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, or VPs. Lots of times news gets announced by these people. Marissa Mayer, for instance, announced that Google had made a search deal with Twitter and if you were following this list you would have seen that.

Here’s a list of 376 tech companies and their official PR accounts (everyone from Google to startups). I find a lot of new products here and find out about updates, too.

Web Hosting and Cloud Hosting/Cloud Computing list. 500 people, news sources, hosting companies (not just Rackspace, either). I’m trying to keep up to date on the hosting business and Cloud Computing and this is how I do it. Find a more complete list anywhere.

Everyone should watch their coworkers. I do the same, with a list of 302 Rackspace employees and data sources. Have you made a list of your coworkers? Why not?

These are my core information lists that I check many times per day.

But I have a few specialized lists too:

TechStartups: this is a list of 500 startups that most people won’t have heard of yet (mostly early stage). I’ll work on this list more over the next few weeks.

Geolocation (174 people and companies). I’m interested in developers and companies that are building new kinds of apps that use GPS and location. Things like Foursquare and Gowalla (both of those are on this list, along with the founders).

iPhone. 500 of the top iPhone app developers and companies and other influentials and programmers.

Twitter tools and devs (353). Twitter has a growing ecosystem of companies and people who are developing tools and services. This list has everyone I’ve been able to find so far.

Tech Event Organizers (239). These are people who run events and the events that they run. Everything from Emerging Tech to BarCamps.

Video or audio shows (101 people and shows). These are podcasts and video shows, mostly tech centric. Everything from Leo Laporte’s shows to Gillmor Gang.

My favstar list (500 people). These are the people I’ve clicked “Favorite” on the most. keeps track of who I favorite the most and puts them on this list. It’s actually one of my favorite lists, but less focused than the others.

Web Innovators (79). If you’ve done something big for the Internet I put you on this list.

Programmers (306). I’m not sure what I’ll do with this list in the future (Twitter limits me to 500 people and obviously there’s more than 500 programmers in the world). But, if you are looking for what programmers think this is a good place to start.

Most influential in tech (225). This is my most followed list, but it’s also the most subjective. What makes someone influential? Well, I study who has the respect of their peers and who gets stuff done. Or, who has a bully pulpit and can get things focused on.

Anyway, if you are looking for other lists, I highly recommend using Listorious, which is a service that tracks lists (you have to add yours, if you haven’t you really should).

If you think you should be added to a list of mine, let me know in the comments here or drop me a line at Thanks and hope you get some value out of these. I know that these have dramatically changed my world.

A few other things: 1. you should check out my favorites list. Every day I put my favorite tweets on there. In about two months I’ve put 8,000 items on this list.

My favorite Twitter client is now Seesmic Web, which supports lists now (and other new Twitter features like Geolocation). The other day I interviewed the Seesmic team about these new features and the video is very telling.

56 Replies to “My world has changed (and I get to share with you)”

  1. Still waiting for more people to learn that these tools are for learning via listening (as opposed to the many who are trying to base their value on the places they see their own names). Thank you for sharing insight into the reasons you have created these lists.

  2. This is where “getting to know who I know” is at. #FF is a dump of unqualified @ replies. I like using lists as a delivery mechanism for this type of thing; good play, Scoble.

  3. Robert, I must be missing something. While I see the inherent value for users that tools/companies like Seesmic provide (and I wish them the best of luck) I struggle to see their monetization model. is it just to rely on advertising? how do you or they themselve see survival when the companies they build upon often haven't figured this out?

  4. great job!

    finally the lists turned me back to twitter after a long time staying on hootsuite and similar tools…

    and your lists really rocks!

    i have just to wait the others italian (people and more important companies) on twitter… πŸ™

  5. oh yea got it. i hope @twitter give me the ability to search inside a particular list. And how about a comparison of different people twitter lists to bring out smart suggestions to connect similar interest people? Moreover i should be able to compare two or more people twitter lists and get quality content πŸ™‚

  6. All interesting stufff. Interestingly I had started to group lists already in Twitter using Tweetdeck, but I appreciate the power of being able to embed lists in blogs etc (like mine).

    I have noticed that I am drawn more to Twitter now over my RSS feeds because of the immediacy of the news.

    Good move Twitter and it brings us back to the website to play with lists now, where as we were all getting a little bit too stuck on Twitter apps I think?

    By the way – can you add @zubworld to the start ups list? This is social network about places rather than people (3.2m locations worldwide so far) going to alpha test soon.

  7. Robert – No wonder your lists are among the top followed lists on Twitter.

    This is an excellent compilation and following your lists has helped me filter a lot of noise and focus specifically on the topics I care for.

    Using the lists feature with a Twitter client like seesmic has exponentially improved my capacity to go through a lot of useful information and ignoring the marketing and noisy tweets.

    Thank you for your effort in creating these Awesome lists! πŸ™‚

  8. Robert, please share with me the secret of two hours night sleep? How do you find the time to do all of this? Would like to know how you plan your days! Thanks for the lists!

  9. Robert – Out of all the people i follow on Twitter your lists have really helped me find the right people. Thank you for adding value.

    I noticed you got rid of the Peeps who did something big list and in your “Programmers List” you have everyone there (Atwood, Resig, DHH) except for @Rasmus (Rasmus Lerdorf) the Danish Programmer who created PHP.

    I drilled down but couldn't find him in there. Just a thought here. Also would love to see a “Geek List” but maybe thats too general for you. In any case Thank You very much.

  10. You put myself in the Founders and Favstar lists (thanks!) but not in the CEO etc. list… Plus, have you tried CoTweet? Their newly launched implementation of lists rocks the house πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Robert,

    First comment on your blog always a big fan/lurker πŸ™‚

    Anyway, this is an excellent use of Twitter Lists which in my opinion are collectively a huge game changer for Twitter. Why? Scalability.

    I was always concerned that I would not be able to keep up with followers how I would want to (finding relevant information, interacting, learning) and the Lists feature is one of my absolute favorites

    (PS Somewhat shameless plug you can hunt me down @therisetothetop)

  12. Wow, great stuff Robert! You are the most savvy twitter list builder yet!
    Thank you for sharing your industry contacts, knowledge and insights with us!
    I was already following some of these lists, but you've added some really great, new ones to check out. Also, thanks for adding me to your Favstar list πŸ™‚

  13. This is more a comment on the high quality of the video in this interview than on your lists, which I can't decide whether to just follow and be done with it or develop on a more personal, less noisy basis. I don't want to listen to 500 people talking just about tech news, since I'm also interested in so many other things –economics, politics, health care, entrepreneurship and there are only so many hours in the day to check Twitter:-)

  14. I went for completeness in my lists. You should build your own with the subset that you like listening to. If you ever need completeness you can always just flip over to my list to see what's going on.

  15. i agree with this one, specifically with the slow action of goolge reader that has been my main source of news for a long while now. it is slow. so slow..

    in fact, different google products are becoming too slow.

    for example, check out this post:

    i have asked this question for a while now (probably not in the right forum) but that is besides the point.

    it takes google over 60 seconds, if at all, to render less than 100 locations on a map.

    since this is the issue for over 4 months now, i think it is safe to assume that google doesn't really care. the fact they are not aware of it just shows you that things are not working as they should.

    here is the advantage of a small team like twitter, who are able to take care of their one product and do it well.

    can they scale is the million dollar question with todays potential viral marketing and exponential growth.

  16. The real value is going to be when we forego this list concept and move to tagging of individual Twitter users, much like Delicious, but for people. Those tags will crowdsource a profile of people. That profile (and more importantly, its tags) can then be searched by people based on what they're looking for. You might mean something to me because of where you live. You might mean something completely different to another person because of what you know. But if you've had people tag you because of those attributes, you have a whole new level of opportunities for finding people who are interesting to you.

    Just my $.02 — people-tagging based on their attributes is where I'd like to see Twitter go.

  17. Did you give a try to ? The google alerts for twitter lists.
    I've now released a new version with badges that you can use in such blog post to invite your visitors to either follow the list on Twitter or suscribe to some keywords via email.

    For example you could say your readers “you may want to follow this list and watch for that hashtag”…
    Pretty cool no?

  18. They are an unstructured, unmineable form of tagging. If I go to your profile and see all of the lists that you're on, that's great. But if I want to find out who lives in suburban Chicago and has a pastry shop, I'm out of luck. If I make a list called “people on my end of town”, that does no one any good because that's contextual.

    I'm always for granularity in this kind of thing and it seems like lists are one step away from what would really create value in finding common traits across Twitter's users.

  19. I'm curious – how do Twitter Lists impact performance of Twitter's systems? Considering analysis for a relational schema for tweets and tweet throughput, I can imagine that this innovation (if everyone used lists instead of follows) could improve Twitter performance for the better; very much so. But also, is it an admission that the original “Follow Me” paradigm is over? Are you following Scoble?…or are you following Scoble's List(s)? Is there a perceptible difference in our experience, especially over a long period of time?

  20. Except that, I haven't seen a way to discover people based on the
    names of lists they are on. And I haven't seen a way to discover all
    the people on lists with the same name by other users. And, I'm
    limited to 30 'tags'.

  21. The 500-person limit on the lists would cut down on the usefulness as a tag.

    If you have 2,000 people in San Antonio, you'd want them all in a San Antonio list, and not San-Antonio-1, San-Antonio-2, San-Antonio-3, San-Antonio-4…

  22. I've put lists on the back burner, but your phenomenal work here has made me reconsider. I'm interested in finding authors who use twitter to stream about the process, not serve promo URLs all day. Lists is a perfect way to gather them. It really will be a game changer in the long run.

  23. I'm sure someone will come out with this sort of thing soon. Remember that Twitter itself has always been way behind the curve when it comes to search-type functions.

    E.g. to this day they don't yet index the Bios to search over on “Find People”, which is crazy. You have to use tiny for that, which is a 1 man, 1 server side-project from @dacort.

    Indexing List names is trivial, and I wonder if even Google is already looking at that. As to @Ike's point above, I'd say the geo-location stuff that's coming/starting on Twitter plus the (albeit self-selected/described, optional) Location field are taking care of that “tag”, no?

    In fact, smart people in smaller places near larger locations are putting things like “Plano near Dallas, Texas” in there. Once again, TweepSearch has already been indexing that field for a long time.

  24. You have taken the art of curation to another level seriously. I agree with Steve Rubel curation is the next big trend and your comments here illustrate the point perfectly.

  25. Go Go super human filter!!
    Rockin' lists, you are an information super star Robert. Not sure where I can find time to suck in all the relevant content you are curating. Certainly the weapons for startups is drawing my interest. I sense great interest in that list as our economy goes through a great shift.

  26. Robert – check out @signalpatterns; we're an early stage firm focusing on psychology-based mobile/web apps (for /tech-startups, /ipone lists); doing apps w/folks like Deepak Chopra, Franklin Covey, etc.


  27. Robert. A fantastic piece of work. Thank you. It brings Twitter to a new level of value. We blog about our experience as founders who took their business through M&A to exit. We tweet at @charlesday.

    Thanks again for putting this together.

  28. Robert

    Thank you. Invaluable. Taking Twitter to a new level of journalism.

    We blog and tweet about our experience as founders who went through the entire cycle from M&A to exit. @charlesday

  29. Excellent work. I hope you can somehow monetarize this obsessive list-making that is such a rich mother-lode of knowledge and connections.

    I'm also so relieved you've made these lists, so I can just look at your lists and not make my own. I haven't felt the need to make Twitter lists somehow. I can't even explain why I have less and less time for Twitter lately and why I am back to reading blogs and newspapers more.

  30. Robert – Awesome list(s)! Thanks. For your TechStartups list, pls. consider Spunch. (Not an Italian company, URL sounded better!).

    Spunch is a startup that lets businesses reward customers already talking about them online. Spunch brings your local retail shop's 'loyalty card' to a whole new social media playing field, acting as a terrific lead gen tool with word-of-mouth marketing to give local businesses and customers closer relationships.

  31. Twitter Lists are (at least in my use), crowd-sourced targeting. I look at your list of hot companies and think, “Wow, Investors should follow that list, and reach out to everyone on it saying how much they respect Robert's opinion and if that company should ever need capital, please come talk to us first!”

    Raising their profile will be net-positive I believe, but there will be an influx of spammers/scammers utilizing Twitter lists and we should watch out for that.

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