When Twitter lists first came out, I described them as a new mainstream media-type content channel. And maybe media companies have missed the boat on what interests readers vs. PR practitioners.
If you look at the lists from CNN, for example, you will see that the most followed list is that of anchors and reporters. I don't know about you, I just don't tend to follow people I'm not interested in building a relationship with, and it seems to me that common sense would dictate regular citizens follow stories, and not the people who write them.
As I revisit those mainstream media lists, I notice how they continue to be mostly about themselves, with a few weak attempts at building something useful for followers beyond their own publication.
Things have indeed changed little since last November, when I did my review:
The Huffington Post seems pretty well on top of the content it covers with its lists. Other news businesses have started their own lists as well. Among them:
- CNN - not as comprehensive as I would have thought, but they have many Twitter streams
- NBC news - it's a bit meager, with only two lists
- Wall Street Journal - validates its paid premium content brand
- The Economist - plenty of room for content with international flavor
- Time magazine - a good start and an opportunity to truly provide a curated media experience
- BBC - it's very intriguing that they would begin with just BBC channels
- npr news - a bit broader than just npr people
- Newsweek - not impressive given the magnitude of their follower count
- USAToday - they use lists to group resources of important conversations happening right now
- The Washington Post - one list
- The LA Times - excellent example of making useful lists and following user lists, highest so far
- Financial Times - plenty of room for a more creative use of financial content curation
- The San Francisco Chronicle - demonstrates what's important to readers
- Slate - focused on its own staff
- Wired - ditto, about the magazine and staff
- Fast Company - I was expecting a little better from this magazine, but lists are still so new
- Inc. magazine - ditto, seems to be about itself
- Atlantic Online - good use of thematic content
- Mashable - not surpising that they would display a nice variety
- TechCrunch - signal what's hot so far
- Ars Technica - one so far
When I took a look at my own lists, what I noticed is that those with the greater follower count were in the most altruistic and more clearly content-driven categories -- #kaizenblog, our weekly chat about kaizen in business strategy, community builders and community evangelists.
If Twitter were less people- or account-centric and more topic-centric, there would be greater opportunity to crowd-source beyond iReports to the nature of news itself. Then it could become a destination for the connection of topics and the stories that inform them.
To the credit of many news organizations listening online, namely the New York Times and the Washington Post, more articles and blog posts have been published recently about content and news that interest people. I do wonder...
Why isn't Twitter organized to track topical content? (trending topics aside) Is this the reason why news organizations and and PR professionals are still thinking about social networks as extensions of the old ways of doing pitches in a vacuum? Not knowing what angle people are interested in until after the pitch and publication?
Are you experimenting with Twitter lists and topical content?