Twitter rolling out new Lists feature this week

Overcomes glitch today to offer more users ability to tune their feed (see images, below)

Twitter is in the midst of an ongoing rollout of its new Lists feature designed to let users better tune their Twitter feed to hone in on the information they want.

The social network first announced Twitter Lists earlier this month and began rolling it a beta version out to users this week -- about half had access by 3:30 p.m. EDT today.

Nick Kallen, manager of Twitter's Lists project, has been keeping users up to date about the progress of the rollout via updates on his Twitter page.

The rollout did hit a brief glitch earlier this afternoon when Twitter engineers disabled the feature for 30 minutes to 60 minutes for trouble shooting and then brought it back online.

"Alright Lists are back on. Lists are not the cause of the issue, apparently. BTW, currently 50% of all users have Lists," wrote Kallen late this afternoon.

The new feature is designed to make it easier for users to group the people they follow by organizing them into lists. The Lists, for instance, could organize the people you follow into groups of friends, colleagues, industry luminaries and celebrities.

While the lists can be made private, they're public by default, allowing other users to subscribe to any of your lists that they're interested in.

"This is a definite improvement," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research Inc. "It's a step toward topic-oriented Twittering, which is what I want. Based on why I follow people, I can check in on Apple chatter, or social media chatter, or my old colleague's chatter."

Gottheil said he's looking forward to getting the List ability so he can start organizing the people and topics that he follows.

"This effectively lets each person follow more people. It lets me "tune" my twitter feed," he said, adding that instead of being flooded with tweets from everyone he follows, he can hone in on the information he's looking for at a specific time by focusing in on a particular group.

Earlier this month, Twitter tested Lists with a small group of users test the feature but started rolling it out to an increasingly larger group this week.

Twitter has been abuzz this afternoon with users talking about getting the new feature or venting their frustrations that they haven't received the ability yet.

"I have Twitter lists now ... what do I do with them?" asked one user. "Why the heck do I not have Twitter Lists yet?! *stamps foot," wrote another.

And another Twitterer is just waiting for the chance to start using it: "Its gonna take me some time (at night) to build out twitter lists, but the value is definitely there."

Twitter Lists
Twitter began inviting more users to its Lists feature today.
Twitter Lists
Twitter Lists lets users group the people they follow into categories -- techies, friends, relatives, celebrities, college pals.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon