Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Groups in twitter

As my twitter network increases in size, I am becoming more aware that the number of twitter messages increases accordingly. Duh. Initially, I just looked at the twitter archive when I arrived at work every morning to see what sort of conversations had occurred during the night. Lately, however, I have realized that this is slowly becoming impossible. There are so many messages in the archive that after a while I just give up. So, I usually look at few pages in the archive and then look at my "replies" and "directs". I have no idea how other twitter users with hundreds or thousands of users in their network work with this flow.

I'm actually a little bit saddened by this tendency, because there were probably great tweet streams that I would enjoy. When I think of twitter now, I am sort of reminded about the title sequence for the Matrix movies where you see this jungle of characters growing and intertwining like snakes.

What I'd like to see is the ability to group twitter users. I know there are some sites that already do this but I'd like to see a client that supports this. The characteristics of this feature would be
  • I can define my own groups of users and share this group with others (either privately or publicly). Sort of like Chris Brogan's twitterpacks . You often see new twitter users being introduced by well known users. What about the ability to "import" a group from one of these well-known users for example, important twitter users who talk about social networks from the perspective @shelisrael . You could then use this group and add members to it or delete it when necessary. You might also get messages when Shel adds or deletes users to this list.
  • The groups should be able to be hierarchical.
  • A client should be able to sort messages. For example, I come in the morning and I want to read tweets from those in my "friends" twitter group. Then I read the tweets from my group "technical gurus" and so forth.
  • If I'm feeling frisky, I can then take a look at the timeline that includes my entire network.

As twitter becomes more popular, such a feature would definitely make things easy for users.

Note: This feature isn't new. There are other blogs that describe the problem: Groups for Twitter; or A Proposal for Twitter Tag Channels and even a twitter user

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