I don’t seem to write much about new tools very often, which is a shame, as playing with stuff is one of my favourite things in the world. Anyway, here’s one I cam across this morning.

I was alerted to SnapGroups thanks to ReadWriteWeb. It’s a neat little service that mashes up real time status updates – in other words, Twitter – with traditional forums.

So, rather than just posting your message out into the big list of what everyone is writing, instead, you post to specific groups, which either you have created, or where you join one created by others. You can’t, as far as I can tell, post one message to more than one group. Probably good for spammy reasons, but it could get annoying if something you have to say is relevant to several groups of people.

My SnapGroups profile is here, and I created a group called govstuff here to have a play. Feel free to join in!

So SnapGroups is pretty neat, but probably not, to my mind, sufficiently better than what is already out there to disrupt people’s established patterns of behaviour, which is to go to Twitter.

However, the guy behind the service, Mark Fletcher, has some serious background – he built the software that turned into Yahoo! Groups, and was also responsible for Bloglines before Ask bought it a few years ago. So maybe there is more to this – I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on it.

Twitter lists

Neville writes a post about Twitter lists, some new functionality recently released to users. An official blog post trailed it last month.

Twitter lists

Neville’s quite positive about it, and indeed it may well work for a lot of people. My view is more… meh.

If you follow lots of people it’s true that it is hard to keep up with everything that is said. I follow just under 1,500 accounts and reading everything is impossible. So I don’t.

TweetDeck, my desktop Twitter client of choice, has had groups – the ability to track a group of twitterers in a single, separate stream – for ages, and I’ve never used it.

After all, Twitter isn’t email. You don’t have to read it all.

I’m happy to dip in and out of my Twitter stream as I have time, and as I have something to say.

Anything that is directly pointed for my attention – ie by including @davebriggs in the tweet – is already highlighted for me. Likewise with the issues I am interested in – I monitor various keywords for mentions of those.

But other than that, I’m comfortable with the fact that I’ll miss the occasional gem – but know that if it’s really good, I’ll pick up on it later, anyway. The thought of spending a load of time managing a bunch of extra lists doesn’t really do it for me, at all – just as I don’t tend to put feeds in folders in Google Reader.

I guess I’m happy to rely on serendipity over organisation.