Canadian Entrepreneur Wants to Make Twitter Lists More Interactive and Embeddable

Any active Twitter user knows far too well the painful way of managing lists. However, Nick Kellet, an entrepreneur from Kelowna wants to change that.

In 2011, Kellet and his partner-in-crime, Shyam Subramanyan from San Francisco, launched Listly, a web platform to create, curate and embed lists. The duo recently added a feature to integrate the platform with Twitter lists—a feature that came out of beta mode this week and is now available for the public.

Kellet explains in an interview that “managing lists on Twitter is fiddly.” It’s hard to scroll or sort through lists on Twitter. Furthermore, they’re buried deep within Twitter’s interface. “They’re forgotten,” he says. “They’re second-class citizens on Twitter.”

Kellet wanted to improve upon the way users can create and manage Twitter lists.

Twitter lists also currently aren’t searchable on Google, which is something else he wanted to change. And Listly’s new feature reportedly does all that.

“We make lists embeddable, interactive and collaborative so that people can add to your lists,” Kellet says.

Here’s how it works: once you’ve created a Twitter list with Listly, others can view it, share it, embed it, and—if you allow them to —contribute and even rank it.

Essentially, it’s one big crowdsourcing project. Kellet says that the initial creator ends up doing only a fraction of the work. Others “tend to add the list and vote on it to improve it. Over time, lists get better.”

For instance, Kellet recalls a woman from Ireland who turned to Listly to create and curate a list of doctors who were active on Twitter. It was through her that the startup saw a need to integrate Listly with managing Twitter lists.

“Her list had about 300 to 400 doctors at the time,” he says. “Now, her list has more than 660 doctors. It exploded as people see it and want to contribute to it. It’s like she’s building a brand with the list.”

Kellet says that Listly sees lists as a form of media as an engaging as videos, photos or audio.

“Whether it’s 10 ways to peel an onion or 17 things you need to do before you die, people love numbered lists,” he says. Basically, “we’re SlideShare for lists.”

He adds that there are currently about 16,000 published and embeddable lists on Listly.

Regarding the startup’s future plans, Kellet reports that its focus is going to be on more embeddable content. In addition to its current plugin for WordPress, Listly will also expand to other blogging platforms, as well as provide analytics tools so users can see how their lists are performing.

And while Listly is currently a web platform, a mobile app could also expected at some point in the future. The simple message is that you create and curate on Listly, Kellet notes, and you subscribe on Twitter.

Consider the case of the woman who built the list of doctors. After using Listly to create and crowdsource the list, it practically doubled.

“What we’re seeing today is the ability to either create or consume,” Kellet says. “There is no collaboration. Human beings were born to collaborate.”