Twitter List iPhone Apps

When my son Josh got Tweetie on his iPhone, he simply went to and found every NBA player he could think of, found out if they had a verified account, and if they did, he followed them. That was his follow list (along with me and the gothamal).

But now with Twitter lists, it could be so much easier. TNT has put together this list of NBA players on Twitter. The Twitter iPhone app companies could simply create packaged versions of their apps with lists in them. Imagine the Tweetie NBA Player app. You download it, it comes preloaded with the TNT NBA list, and if that's all you ever want to do on Twitter, you are done. Of course, you can add more people, tweet, and retweet if you'd like.

Maybe this has already happened. If so, please point me to it. If not, I'd like to see someone do this.

PS – I'm not the only one thinking about lists this morning. Scoble has a really good post on lists on his blog right now.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey

    Interesting. If we are asking, who besides is using twitter as a msg protocol for their app?

    1. Ty Ahmad-Taylor

      Jeff, we are using Twitter as a messaging protocol for our application, FanFeedr (, which also answers the larger question Fred is posing about his son: you can follow any league, like the NBA, on the application, and you will get all of the tweets by verified NBA players, coaches, writers and associated persons (like Kenny Smith, or Jalen Rose.) The iPhone application, like the web site, uses FB Connect for Auth, and also uses Twitter OAuth for Twitter linkage.To be clear, you are also getting all of the relevant news and information for a given team, in addition to the tweets.

      1. Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey

        Thanks. Will check it out. FYI: That is a bad link. I just went to your home page: – Looks most interesting. –ski

        1. Ty Ahmad-Taylor

          The bitly link error is mine. The proper link is Thank you for your kind words.

  2. whitneymcn

    I remember a few orgs/companies doing this with branded+preloaded RSS readers, but I don’t recall hearing much about usage. Given RSS reader usage overall, I suppose there wasn’t much to talk about.Seems a little more interesting with Twitter, though: even (maybe especially) if you removed the Twitter name from the app, you’ve got a “get real-time messages from the stars” kind of system, which has appeal to people who might never “use” Twitter themselves.

  3. andyswan

    It’s a really good idea. It’s all marketing/packaging/sales at that point, as the underlying value (the list) is easily replicable by anyone for free.Sounds like someone from the fragrance industry could make a killing here 🙂

  4. kidmercury

    damn boss sorry to hear your son has decided to enter prison and become an iphone user. oh well, what can you do. you try your best to instill proper values but ultimately it’s their life. the youngest are always more prone to rebellion anyway. i am still not a fan of twitter targeting end users directly, IMHO that is the wrong strategy. but, if we are going to be talking lists here, everyone should check out the list ShanaC made of AVC folks on twitter.

    1. ShanaC

      It’s not done. It just was driving me nuts that I couldn’t find anyone and my own list is a mess.. Feel free to ping me I’ll add you. I realize there are thousands of people. So we just make a bunch of lists. There is no particular of the lists FYI. It’s first come, first serve.That should be who I follow. I should also mention I have two accounts (actually three, one of which I don’t use) and I think the list feature will finally allow me to integrate them. So uhh yeah. But first I need to figure out who everyone is and how everyone fits together. Are you just the list of restaurants and brands, or people I actually talk to? What variant of english can I use to the list?

      1. ShanaC

        Actually if you see this. Please ping me at ShanaCarp on Twitter if you want to be on the List so I can figure out if there needs to be multiple lists It’s much easier than me going through 3 months of posts and figuring out who has twitter and who doesn’t and then who doesn’t want to be on lists.

      2. whitneymcn

        You know, it might be worth getting in touch with @danielha from Disqus about this.A fair number of Disqus users have linked up to their Twitter accounts, and while you can’t get Twitter handles via the Disqus API, they might be willing to do some ad hoc work to get the Twitter handles of commenters where they’re available. Worth asking, at least.Kevin Marshall was thinking about creating a dynamic version of this (a tool that builds a Twitter list of all the people who have commented on your blog), but the inability to link Disqus users to their Twitter handles through the API makes it impractical for now.

        1. ShanaC

          I took the nike approach, “just do it.” Tweetdeck has yet to support the new features which is also frustrating me…Daniel, I’m bothering you about this.

      3. fredwilson

        Disqus could automate some of this, at least for those that comment with a twitter login

        1. ShanaC

          If it happens, can there be barriers for entry/exit? LIke you only can enter the list after your 10th comment, and if you disappear for a month, you get kicked off the list, so the list remains dynamic, ala the bar metaphor. Also to keep the list smaller and err unclogged with people who have moved on to different things in life. Or is that asking for the moon?

          1. fredwilson

            We are in the first inning of the lists thing. Who knows where all of this will go

          2. ShanaC

            correctly. what’s interesting about my choice in an odd sort of way is that you could make lists that in nature like hash tags. You could do one for say book clubs or something…

    2. fredwilson

      Got a url for that list?

      1. ShanaC…It’s not done, I have no idea when it will be done, I have no idea how to complete it, because the list of “regulars” is over the twitter list maximum. In no way does this reflect on celebrityhood. If anything, it relfects on how lazy/non-lazy I am and the order I capture your comments.A) If it ‘s a bar it’s the ambient conversation (minus DaveInHackensack and JLM, who right now I am pretty sure don’t use twitter)B) I feel like I am some teenager caught in the act by making this list, oy…

        1. fredwilson

          It should never be done. People ask me why I don’t write a book. Its simple. Books have an ending

          1. ShanaC

            Ok Probably I’ll never finish it. However, it is extremely, errr, rote, mechanical turk-like work. It something that should be dissemeniated into the community, and that people should opt into, and they should sign up for. I just wanted to know who was who on twitter Although I probably have given marketers a few ideas now, that you could just create a list of people that have opted into your community… and use it like an email list of some sort… associated dynamic community email/twitter community thing that happens to be a list…

          2. Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey

            Fred, people write books to start something! Please reconsider. -ski

  5. Carl Rahn Griffith

    “I am not a list entity – I’m a free man!”With apologies to Patrick McGoohan, RIP, ‘The Prisoner'(Twitter will soon know far more about us than ‘Number One’ could have ever dreamed of).

  6. Jeff Pester

    Fred (or anyone else out there), wondering if you know of any apps (web, iPhone, Android) that do on-the-fly filtered following? For example, I want to receive only tweets from a given account and/or list(s) that contain only keyword specific or keyword-driven semantically relevant content. I realize this is a non-trivial piece of functionality requiring some sort of downstream catcher filter, but one I’m hoping somebody is already working on.IMO the ability to dynamically filter and throttle both individual account and list streams is one of the things that will help take Twitter usage to the next level.

    1. fredwilson

      Its coming for sure. Not sure its here yet though

    2. kidmercury

      you could do this by grabbing twitter rss feeds and filtering them via yahoo pipes, although you will lose the real-time nature of things that way. there is probably a better way for folks who want to grab twitter’s API, but the yahoo pipes method is one option for non-coders who can tolerate delays of 30 min or so.

      1. Jeff Pester

        Thanks for the suggestion Kid – I use Pipes pretty heavily for some other feed needs but unfortunately it’s a little clunky for this purpose. We’re working on some solutions via Twitter’s API as you suggested, but it’s turning out to be a bit more involved than we had originally hoped.

  7. Ben Scofield

    I think lists have exposed a deep problem with the App Store: the approval process prevents the sort of agility in feature development that we’ve come to expect from web-based products. When your app is just a client for a web site, your devs can work as fast as you might want, but the app won’t be available to customers until Apple allows it.

    1. fredwilson

      Droid does

      1. ShanaC

        *snicker* Did you get one in the end?

  8. awaldstein

    The list function is just smart. For marketers, it’s a simple way to parse the Twitter population and customize it into digestible populations.

  9. Tom Limongello

    Actually you don’t need an app for that. Twitter lists could be presented within ad units already, no need to wait in the iPhone app store queue. On iPhones JavaScript comes native to the Safari browser, so you can have a scrolling list of tweets from a list e.g. TNT’s NBA running in an expandable banner, and you can offer oAuth twitter connect features if the user would like to follow the Twitter list. I’m not going to switch from Tweetie and there’s no need for a brand to compete on usability. I have to go call Turner now. Thanks!

  10. reece

    I really like what the NHL did with Twitter lists right away – having fans tweet “@NHL #myfavoriteteam Bruins” and then creating fan lists for every team and adding those fans.I know I don’t necessarily want to follow every other Bruins fan, but I will sometimes open up a Tweetdeck search for #Bruins during a game and participate in the conversation.Lists will only facilitate this discussion.

    1. fredwilson

      Ooh. That’s really cool. I had not heard about thatImagine on the fly lists that you can join during events

      1. reece

        Very cool. And they did it within days of lists rolling out. As the poor-man of the professional leagues, they have to be quick on their feet and use social media effectively.I like the idea of lists on the fly, but then again, it’s very similar to just following a search for whatever topic/#tag in Tweetdeck or similar…

  11. Josh

    Seems like Twitter is faltering in the US and I don’t think lists are going to save it. In some sense they worsen the “status” problem of Twitter — making it more of a celebrity vehicle than it already is. Already, most people use Twitter to follow celebrities, large and small. Nobody is reading the tweets of average Joes; and so average Joes aren’t really tweeting, or at least not for long. The tendency with lists is going to be to highlight “important” people easily — so there’s even less incentive to find those special flowers. I think people are going to find that Facebook is a better platform for non-celebrities, thanks to its tighter social network. And we can see that realization in the latest growth numbers.Over time there’s just too much noise in everyone’s stream, and the other problem is most users find no need to tweet; they realize over time that nobody is actually reading the tweets of average Joes — Twitter is just another celebrity vehicle. Couple that with the fact that Facebook’s status updating technology is better, and Twitter really starts to look like the next MySpace.

    1. fredwilson

      I think the flattening is just the natural churning out of a portion of the huge number of people who came on board this spring and summerTwitter isn’t for everyone. Its different than facebook, which as you point out, is more personalBut its not just celebrities who get value out of twitter. Businesses, large and small, do as wellThe assymetric follow relationship is different and better for some things and some usersComparing them is not that useful in my opinion

  12. Mayank Sharma

    Following lists created by power users such as Scoble gives my head a spin. I cannot keep up with my current list of about 100 followers, and following a list containing around 500 users each is just going to take my whole day.I think what we really require here is some way of removing personal or directed tweets from these lists. Maybe the list readers are interested only the links being shared here, maybe the tweets which mention a fellow lister. That should really cut down the number of tweets by a list per day to somewhat manageable level.Thats just an idea

    1. fredwilson

      Filters are the next big thing

      1. Mayank Sharma

        yep. And an intelligent one. something similar to what spam filters is to mails today.

  13. Eugene Mandel

    Since Twitter Lists are a lot like tags, you should be able to simply find all NBA players on Twitter. We are working on this problem. As a starting point, we help to figure out what all the lists you are on say about you:

  14. samfjacobs

    I think this is exactly what companies like @tlists are doing. Curation and partnership with advertisers and marketers to create edited, filtered Twitter lists. If you can couple that with some kind of topic filtering you’ve got a home run.

  15. dcilea

    This iPhone application –… – aggregates NFL football news from various social networks and news sources (players, teams, etc.) and delivers it to users based on their preferences. Users don’t need a Twitter account to use the application as it pulls tweets and renders them to the phone. Don’t know if they have a pro basketball version yet.

  16. Vidar Brekke

    We’ve been doing Twitter lists on the iPhone months before Twitter came up with the idea of lists. We started with the NFL and we’re working on an NBA version as we speak. While the ‘stock list function’ from Twitter is a good start, it leaves a lot to be desired before it represents a mainstream-friendly interface to the twitterverse. For a demo of Twitter lists on steroids for the iPhone, check out this video:… (or download the free NFL version to your iPhone here: we’re releasing the NFL and NBA apps as free, unbranded apps, our model is to offer marketers the opportunity to release their own branded versions of this app with ‘their own’ aggregated content. We’ve put a lot of effort into creating a streamlined CMS and easily skinnable client that enables brands to release their own app within weeks.

  17. David Lee

    fred, i built something for myself along these lines. the analogy i use is pre-filling an ipod – five years ago, i used to do that all the time for people when i got them an ipod. now people know how to connect an ipod but back then, non-techies were kind of clueless. i think the same applies now for twitter…pretty simple…just dynamically changing the people i follow based on the sports season. would love your thoughts!

    1. fredwilson

      it’s a great analogy to a pre-filled iPodwhat do you mean by “dynamically changing the people i follow based on thesports season”?

      1. David Lee

        it will just be manual – my choices and maybe those of the community. imho “real-time data” isn’t structured or robust enough for algorithmic filtering solutions. if you think back to mid 90’s, yahoo founders just categorized the web manually and i think that approach is optimal for now.trying to get approval for my iphone app and would love your thoughts (if and) when it launches!

        1. fredwilson

          Send me a link

  18. RichardF

    Scoble must spend his whole day reading the Twitter stream. I thought I’d try plugging one of his lists into Seesmic just to see what the hype is all about. Conclusion; too much duplication, too much information and too easy to miss something.Lists are a great idea for sure, the curation aspect that lists allow is a step up in filtering some of the noise.Twitter is not a replacement for an rss reader for me at the moment and I’ll be sticking with my RSS reader (feedly) for a while yet. I’ve done the curation myself already by adding the feeds I want and I’ll bet with those feeds I’m not missing much more than if I was endlessly watching a twitter stream. The bonus for me is that with a decent reader my feeds are organised, filtered and always there.When there is a Twitter client that can give me the filtering and organisation that an rss reader is able to, then I can see the attraction because I do like the serendipitous nature of a Twitter post of link from someone I’m following.

    1. fredwilson

      You’ll love all the stuff twitter is working on now

  19. kskobac

    There’s a great example of this for the NYC food trucks – the StreetEats iphone app; it was built before the twitter lists but its the same concept, you open the app and only see the latest tweets from all of the popular food trucks like the dessert truck or waffle truck. Great if you are always trying to catch one!