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Though Twitter Lists are new to most users, some news organizations are trying to stay ahead of the curve by taking advantage of the new feature and implementing it quickly. Whether by creating staff directories to make their journalists easier to find, or recommending tweeps to follow on specific subjects, Twitter lists are giving news sites the ability to curate news and further open up to Twitter users that can help them to gather news.
News () organizations are beginning to learn the fundamental characteristic of social media: it’s social. This is an interesting departure for news organizations that were primarily using Twitter () as a service for self-promotion, such as the case with ESPN, whose social media policies serve ESPN efforts first. Or like policies of The Wall Street Journal, which were criticized for being too restrictive. The list of ways news organizations are using Twitter Lists is expanding. If you come across a creative way that lists are being used, please share in the comments below.
1. Staff Directory
Jennifer Preston, the first social media editor of The New York Times, is working with staff to strategize their use of tools in the social media landscape. She said for the past couple of months, the focus of their social strategy has been on how to best use Twitter and “tapping into the real-time Web.” One of the newest pieces of that strategy is the Times’ Twitter lists.
The Times’ Twitter lists allow readers to be able to follow a list of Times’ staffers, which includes a stream of tweets from more than 100 people. The New York Times website already gets significant traffic from Twitter, but this has the potential to make its staffers more easily findable, expanding their reach and potentially their traffic.
2. Recommended Tweeps, Specific Information
The Times’ journalists also created lists on subject areas that include tweeps outside of their staff that tweet on specific subjects like Washington politics or Broadway shows. The Times even has a list for world news, which includes some of its competitors.
Preston said that one of the difficulties of coming to Twitter is in figuring out who to follow, or “finding the signal in the noise.”
“Our opportunity is helping people find the signal in the noise,” Preston said. Twitter Lists will help readers find smart people to follow, she said, and journalists are already using Twitter to track down sources, find story ideas, and communicate with readers. Twitter lists are providing another kind of service by connecting people with Twitterers that add value on specific subjects, according to Preston.
The Los Angeles Times is using lists to help its audience and followers find tweeps that are relevant to the West Coast, said Andrew Nystrom, senior producer for social media and emerging platforms at The Los Angeles Times.
This doesn’t mean that the lists exclude Twitterers that are not from the region, but focuses on subjects that are relevant to the LA Times’ coverage and audience, such as Los Angeles celebs.
3. Curated Real-Time Streams
The Huffington Post is using the Twitter lists in a similar manner as the New York Times by including outside Twitterers. However, Huffington Post is also embedding the lists on their website using the Lists API, creating pages of streaming tweets from their lists, which is certainly a creative way to tap into the information in the Twittersphere.
They have used this for several different lists including a World Series page that includes tweets from baseball writers, and New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies bloggers.
This is a feature that will likely become popular with news organizations, and has already been used by some news sites before the Lists feature was rolled out.
Nystrom from LA Times said this is something that he looks forward to doing for their site. There are a lot of possibilities and opportunities to use this for real-time curation of Twitter, he said.
4. Lists to Follow Events
News organizations can also create lists for events, providing their audience with a resource of Twitterers associated with a specific event. This also allows news organizations to be more selective when using Twitter to enhance coverage. In the past, events were typically tracked by hashtags that were open to anyone to use, including spammers, but with Twitter Lists, news organizations can create lists that feature only vetted users.
CNN created a list for the November 3 elections that features politicians that are running for election, for example. News organizations have always played a key role in informing the public about resources to learn more about political candidates. This is just another adapted form of that same idea, helping make the information easily findable by placing it in one place, or list.
Twitter Lists will allow news organizations to better filter out noise from Twitter. As Poynter Online’s Craig Kanalley points out, journalists will also be able to use lists to keep track of their sources and discover new ones. News sites that haven’t taken advantage of the new Lists feature would do well to implement it into their strategy before falling behind.
More Twitter resources from Mashable:
– HOW TO: Use Twitter Lists
– Twitter Lists: Frequently Asked Questions and Strategies
– The Journalist’s Guide to Twitter
– 10 Most Extraordinary Twitter Updates
– 6 Gorgeous Twitter Visualizations
– 10 Ways to Find People on Twitter
Image via Productive Dreams.
About Me: Kimberly Flores - Capturing the heart of the Adventure even if it is still in Dream Mode "Lets Make a Point To Leave This Place Better Than When We Came, One Life at a Time." Read more from this author