Last week Twitter debuted a new feature that lets you group your followers, Twitter calls it Lists. To learn Twitter List basics, Josh Catone's Mashable post HOW TO: Use Twitter Lists is a good place to start.
Why do lists of Twitter accounts matter?
Twitter Lists are an efficient way to find Twitter-people that you don't know, but should. Consider this list of 500 entrepreneurs, founders, startups, CEOs, and influential business people put together by Peter Urbanski. When you subscribe to a list like this, the updates of everyone in the list appear in your Twitter feed—You don't have to subscribe to each individual account. You may not want to subscribe to a list with 500 active Twitterers, but take a quick look and you may turn up a handful of interesting, thoughtful people you do think are worth following.
More important, Twitter built Lists into its API, so its users can design new features. Already there are new products and services building on the Lists API, among them Listorious, a directory of "the best Twitter Lists" and TLISTS (currently in private beta), which promises a set of tools to help companies curate their Twitter Lists.
Enabling user-generated innovation and then getting out the way is something Twitter does well, as Eric von Hippel, MIT Sloan's Professor of Management of Innovation, as points out in Twitter Serves Up Ideas From Its Followers:
“Twitter’s smart enough, or lucky enough, to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them.’”
Are you using Twitter Lists? What do you think is the most important thing about the new feature? What's still missing?