Tweet to private groups with Twitsper

Twitter is a great way to communicate one-way with large groups of people publicly, and both ways with individuals publicly or privately. But there’s a gap when it comes to communicating with large and small groups in private. Sure, you can follow lists, but you can’t tweet specifically to members of one. Well, at least not when using Twitter.com. But now, with Twtisper, a free app currently available in the Android Market, you can do just that: create lists of members so you can tweet privately, or Twitsper, with them.

The app was announced today and uses a color coded system for differentiating those in your timeline between regular users you follow (blue) those on a public list you’ve created or belong to (green), and those on private lists you’ve created or belong to (red).

Twitsper could turn out to be the perfect solution for communications amongst employees, study groups, circles of friends and more. But there are some problems with the app in this early stage. When creating a new group, the user must wait for a list of all the people they follow on Twitter to load–a delay that often results in a force close on my EVO 4G. Once the list is available, one must scroll through every single one of the people they follow (that’s a long list for me) and check a box next to the names for inclusion in the new list. Worse, the names are apparently ordered according to the chronology of your following them; not alphabetically. And the names displayed are those people fill in (often comically) in their profiles…confusing. There is no way to manually enter the IDs either, which makes list creation–at least for some of us–a major, incredible hassle. I’m sure that the graduate students of UC Riverside who developed the program will address these issues in the near future.

While I don’t find Twitsper usable in its current state, I’m expecting something very cool to grow from this potential-rich seedling.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Tweets sent to list members show as a DM to them and there is no “reply all” or list sharing function. The list only exists on the device where the app is installed. Therefore, each person within the group must create a duplicate of the group for team conversations. Twitsper uses Twitter lists, which can be created at Twitter.com. So although list creation is currently cumbersome within the app, any lists you’ve created will show in your available Twitsper lists. The list is not stored on the user’s phone as I erroneously reported earlier.

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