Twitter Lists for whole countries? It just won’t work.

Twitter Lists for whole countries? It just won’t work.

US StatesWe recently broke the news that only days after the feature had been switched on for all users, Twitter Lists were already being adopted by spammers. Now it looks like we’re about to get a new kind of List-related spam – people begging to be on Lists.

Techcrunch Europe reports that social media consultancy Simplyzesty is beginning to build Twitter lists of whole countries. They’ve already built one for Ireland, now they’re moving onto the USA and UK. The Irish List was apparently produced by hand but the American and British versions will be automated.

As Mike Butcher at Techcrunch explains, users will have to ask to appear on the Lists:

“Here’s how you get yourself into the list. The Irish one was built by hand, but the others are going to be built with a script but (sic) Twitter users tweeting “I want to get listed #TwitterCalifonia [or another state]” and Simplyzesty will collect all the tweets and add them to the lists for each State. In the UK Twitter users can tweet #TwitterEssex, replacing the county name with the county you live in.”

So, this won’t be a comprehensive list of every Twitter user in, say, California. Instead it will be a list of everyone desperate enough for attention that they want to be on a List made up solely of people who have asked to be on it. What’s the point in that?

Simplyzesty claims this is an experiment to see which US state is most active on Twitter. How can it possibly provide any meaningful result?

While it’s certainly interesting to see what everyone in a particular area is talking about, this isn’t the way to do it. All the company will have produced is a list of the people who are attention-seeking enough to want to be on it. What about all the other people out there in your state or county who aren’t on the list? Don’t they have something interesting to say?

Even Twitter’s upcoming geolocation feature won’t completely solve this problem – that’s opt-in too – but as people grow more comfortable with sharing their location its value will grow.

For now, the best way of discovering the views of local Twitter users remains services that search the ‘Location’ field in the users’ profiles; Twitterlocal, for example.

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