Effects of following a private List on Twitter

Inspired by @maxisreading’s read-only profile and in a tepid attempt to curb my recent bout of irony poisoning, I decided to unfollow everyone on Twitter and follow a private List instead.

Lists, introduced in 2009, are difficult to use, possibly because they’re a neglected feature and not a primary driver of engagement metrics, and therefore, revenue for Twitter. Use this to your advantage. Let Twitter worry about changing stars to hearts.

  1. Lists are like Twitter as it was in 2009. There are no threaded replies. There are no “you may enjoy following” recommendations. There are no “such-and-so liked” tweets from people you don’t follow. The “You may have missed” or “Tweets you might like” sections are conspicuously absent. Gone is the algorithmic visibility filter, as is the silly achronological sort-order. Dot-at replies show up, normal 1:1 replies don’t. It’s extremely good.
  2. On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. Private lists are private. Nobody gets a following notification when you add them to a private list. Furthermore, no one can casually discern who you follow based on a glance at your profile.
  3. You can’t add private accounts to a List. Sorry.
  4. There’s no “What’s happening?” input at the top of your timeline. This serves as an important reminder to never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, ever tweet. Pro move: couple this with a user stylesheet to hide the Tweet button in the header and all reply buttons to make sure you never post.
  5. There are no ads in Lists. Rejoice.
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