I’m not comfortable with auto-list programs such as “conversationalist” or “Formulist.” I’m still trying to figure out what their purpose really is. Most of the programs I see have you list someone for a specific amount of time (24-hours seems common) and then if you don’t engage with them in that time frame, you are subsequently unlisted. I know this, because I see when I’m listed and then I see when I’m unlisted. I also see myself going right back on the same lists and then off of them again. Great circle game, really, but what’s the point?
I have lists. They are horribly outdated, and frankly I’ve forgotten they’re there, but I have lists. When I started creating lists, I had less than 300 followers. It was much easier to manage them back then. I added every person to those lists by hand, not program. I haven’t touched them since. I’m sure some folks don’t follow me anymore and I’m sure I have unfollowed a few.
I remember when I was added to my first list, I was so excited. Someone thought enough of me to add me to a list. I even remember that it was a list of local, regional people (thank you @goodlaura). I was “someone.” It made me feel that I had arrived on Twitter. When I noticed that I was on more than five lists, I was just over the moon. Sounds silly, but at that time I was still new to Twitter (actually it was my second try). I had finally jumped in and started to engage with people. At that time, it meant a lot to be listed; it did to me, anyway. I’m not sure if there were list programs a couple of years ago, so honestly, I can’t say if I was listed by a person or program. I do believe I’m still listed on some of those original lists.
When I started noticing that I was being added to lists by people who I follow (and some can be considered “top social media and business folks”), I was reminded what it felt like to be listed initially. That was until I saw that I was later “unlisted” by the same people 24-hours later. To be honest being unlisted took a bit of wind out of my sails.
It was also something that I was seeing frequently with some of my regular Twitter friends and I started to wonder what the deal was. Why did they unlist me? Then I realized that “they” didn’t add me or unlist me, a program did. (My “aha” moment if you will.)
As an experiment, I went to conversationlist to see what it was about. I even created a list. What I didn’t do was create a “specific” list, for instance… “people who have re-tweeted me.” I created a list of my followers. Probably not a smart move on my part as 24-hours later, I received the shock of my life.
The list program started to unfollow everyone I had not spoken to on Twitter within the set timeframe. I literally watched hundreds of names fly by as “unlisted.” I was appalled (and horribly embarrassed). I stopped/unauthorized the program and then sent the following tweet out – yes, I really did:
My thought was for the newer folks on Twitter who may not understand how programmed lists work. If someone like me (a little bit experienced with all of this) could feel a bit deflated at being unlisted, I wondered how they might feel. That little post made the rounds through quite a few re-tweets, much to my surprise.
Honestly (and no offense to all of you that use it), I can’t find the value in using programmed lists. Who are they for? What do you use them for? Lists used to be a great way to find new followers. If a list is constantly changing, why would I want to follow that list?
If I were to ask you now, “Do you know who’s on your ‘list of people that re-tweeted me?'” – would you be able to answer? Perhaps you’d answer my question with another question: “Does it matter?” I don’t think it does matter. It just seems a bit impersonal to me.
That being said, I kindly ask to please not list me. It won’t change the way I feel about or engage with you.