There's always a lot going down at the annual South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. As you probably remember, SXSW served as the original launchpad for Twitter, so it seems fitting that Kevin Rose's new Twitter directory, WeFollow, was launched there this year.
It's interesting, however, that Rose didn't choose to make his announcement during a talk at the conference, but rather through Twitter and Digg. At its core, WeFollow keeps track of different groups of Twitterers, as defined by tags, such as #tech or #celebrity and displays them in order of popularity.
The directory has already and will continue to attract a lot of early users, simply due to Rose's enormous Internet presence. The hope is that Rose's following will be enough to push WeFollow into being the dominant Twitter directory, which people will use despite Rose's involvement, as is the current situation with Digg.
The "Kevin Rose factor" definitely plays a role here, but will it be enough to make WeFollow successful? It helped Pownce for a while, but the site was ultimately bought by Six Apart and shut down, so we'll have to see.
Users can add themselves to WeFollow simply by tweeting @wefollow, followed by up to three tags that they want to be classified under. For example, my tweet read: "@wefollow #tech #blogger". It's very easy to do, and by choosing this method of adding people to the directory, I think it could very easily start to spread virally. Since the tweets to @wefollow are public, people might see one, get interested, take a look, and enter themselves.
While WeFollow is, so far, a great tool for finding the top users in a given category, I do have a few criticisms. First off, WeFollow makes looking at anyone outside of the top 50 or so in a category a major pain. Unless you want to click through pages and pages of Twitterers, all you will likely see is the top users. Twitter itself suffers from the same tedious clicking through of pages if you want to see who a particular user is following.
Second, I know that this release is a very early version of WeFollow, but users should definitely be given the ability to sort using multiple tags, in order to yield more relevant results. If I am looking for tech bloggers, why not let me see people who match the tags #tech and #blogger?
Overall, WeFollow appears to be a solid offering, with a clean interface, that's taking a real stab at organizing the Twitterverse. With Rose's help, I think we're going to see it get very popular fairly quickly here. If they can add some better searching and filtering options, WeFollow will really be a killer service.