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Twitter Lists are here! Sort of.

Yesterday evening, I logged into the recently-created @TexasInnovation twitter account I run and received a startling, but fun, discovery–this message:

“New! Lists. A great way to organize the people you follow and discover new and interesting accounts. (BETA)

Lists are timelines you build yourself, consisting of friends, family, co-workers, sports teams, you name it. You’re part of a small group receiving this feature, so don’t tweet about it yet.”

Notice they didn’t say not to blog about it. And, um, notice they didn’t tell you all not to tweet about it. Ahem. I mean, if you wanted.

I am actually excited about this new feature, but am not sure how it might change things. Wanting to try it out, though, I went with my first instinct, which was to create a “McCombs” Twitter subscription list, so that people could subscribe to all of the school’s official tweets with the click of a button.

Here’s how the beta version seems to work (series of screen shots follows – click on any image for a bigger view):

The Announcement I received upon logging in. Hello, TwitList!

The Announcement I received upon logging in. Hello, TwitList!

Creating the new list...you can make the list public or private.

Creating the new list...you can make the list public or private.

Searching for a user to add to the list...

Searching for a user to add to the list...

Adding the user to my list (you can select which list to add them to from a drop down menu).

Adding the user to my list (you can select which list to add them to from a drop down menu).

My new list shows up highlighted in the right-hand side...

My new list shows up highlighted in the right-hand side...

You can see how things look from the subscriber-side by going to @TexasInnovation and poking around.

The tech side of things seems basic enough. Now what to use the lists for? Ideas? Let us know in the comments what you plan to do with yours.

David J. Neff on Social Media

Below is a recap of key points from Neff’s recent presentation at UT on social media for nonprofits by Amber Walkowiak.

David J. Neff gave a speech on new media in the nonprofit sphere this morning. He spent a little bit of time explaining new media and then went on to give advice on how to use it.

Old and new media
-Old media had all communication pointing outward toward the audience
-New media has communication pointing both ways and we’re expected to not only listen to comm. coming in from the audience but also to respond to it

Facebook ate many of the old media sites (Xanga, Live Journal, Friendster) and is now the giant of the industry.

Social networks are walled gardens
-You have to have an account to use it
-Further, users must give you permission to interact with them and see their profiles

The first thing you need to do in social networks as a nonprofit is LISTEN.
-Run searches on your brand
-Don’t start broadcasting until you’ve searched yourself and engaged in a few conversations with users.
-Even so, keep the broadcasting to a minimum

Find the key masters.
-These are the people who can open doors to new connections or new ideas.
-They can be anyone. Think about who you’re targeting and who might be able to help you reach them.

Video is sticky and social
-48% of people watch video online (2007 study)
-15% of people use video sharing sites (2007 study)
-Most people share links with friends or watch videos with friends because it’s a social topic

YouTube and Facebook OWN your stuff.
-They hold copyright to everything you upload to their sites.

– Created by American Cancer Society as a multimedia sharing site to tell your cancer story
– More positive atmosphere than on YouTube (YouTube’s comments usually skew very negative)

Facebook Advertising
-Incredible because it’s so targeted

Statesman sells first twitter ad
-Robert Quigley (online editor) for Statesman sold @statesman tweets to MansionofTerror for $150 a pop
-Statesman requires ads to be actionable (coupons, etc.) – MoT was buy 1 get 1 free
-Ad was retweeted 29 times and gained national media coverage
-However, no one showed up to MoT to use the coupon

Brainstorm on why it didn’t work
-Too early in the season for people to care yet
-Maybe Twitter was the wrong medium
-Statesman reaches an older audience than was desired
-Many people forgot to or were uncomfortable mentioning the ad
-Could have had a landing page to buy tickets with a special twitter code for money off

Key Concepts
-Be honest (if you tweet an ad, admit that it’s an ad)
-Listen first and be responsive
-Spot trends and make trends
-Speak up/have a voice (don’t be a robot)


Amber Walkowiak
Communications Intern, McCombs School of Business
The University of Texas at Austin
(512) 232-6779


Dorothy Brady sent me this pic. Notice the Twitter message in bold, red…I guess they don’t want anyone to know if they have a fire.

Daily Twitter and Facebook Ideas


  • new Twitter users: try accessibletwitter.com for an easier interface
  • RT something of interest/value from the general news feed
  • RT from a follower, browse their posts, find a good one
  • search by topic/keyword to find new people, good Tweets
  • reply to your DMs
  • follow a new person (use search, or follow someone being followed by a favorite Tweep)
  • post an upcoming event/campaign


  • respond to status updates, comments, with comments
  • check discussions going on in your groups
  • post a photo, tag someone
  • post sports/food/weather info, don’t be doing business all the time
  • post funny stuff, keep it light, not always self-promotion
  • articles, esp. funny ones, the Onion
  • book recommendations
  • location/context info, what you’re doing where
What do you like to post or see posted in people’s status updates? Leave a comment.

Twitter Primer From The Pros

Tracy Teaching TwitterThough Tracy Mueller (left) has managed our Twitter account for less than 6 months, @UTexasMcCombs is showing up all over as an example of a well run .edu feed.

Recognized .edu marketing expert Bob Johnson wrote in this week’s best practices post, Twitter…9 professional and graduate school examples:

University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business
Started 28 August with 666 updates since then, this is definitely the most robust of the ones I’m following with 753 followers and 485 others being followed.

Our Communications Director, Dave Wenger, has also proven to be a fast study of the new medium, managing a staggering number of feeds by adeptly using a suite of free Twitter applications.

Dave and Tracy spent thirty minutes this week sharing their insights with our budding Twitterers and we recorded the audio so you could hear what they had to say. (Sorry to say, the audio cuts out inexplicably at the very end.)

And here is the list of some of the Twitter tools they use.



Tracy passes along the following lists to consider if you’re looking for good folks to follow in the news/edu realm. To see the lists…

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