With the mind-boggling number of tweets created each day (over half a billion as of last October) at times your Twitter feed can overwhelm you with information. Some especially useful tweets may be buried in there, and without some organization, they can be easily missed.
That’s where Twitter Lists come in handy.
I’ll share my own experience as an example. My primary activity online is managing a hockey blog, so the people I follow on Twitter are mostly fellow hockey fans, bloggers, and reporters. In addition, there are many non-hockey accounts that I follow, whether for practical tips (sportswriters like @jeffpearlman, SEO experts such as @wilreynolds), or entertainment (@darthvader).
All told, I follow over 1,700 accounts, making my general feed an informational smorgasbord. In order to pay close attention to particular subjects, I use Lists to organize some of those accounts.
How To Add An Account to a Twitter List
When you click on a profile, click the button immediately to the left of the Follow/Unfollow button, which gives you a drop-down menu:
Select the “Add or remove from lists” option, which brings up another window allowing you to select an existing List, or create a new one:
Choose the List you want to assign that account to, or the “Create a list” button to start a new List – it’s that easy!
How To Monitor Twitter Lists
If you use the standard Twitter.com interface, or their mobile app, you will find Lists under the “Me” tab, towards the bottom. I prefer to use an app like Hootsuite, which allows me to keep several streams open at the same time for easy scanning.
Here’s a snapshot of my Hootsuite desktop:
I keep my mentions to the left, in case I need to reply to someone, followed by my general Twitter feed, then a stream which shows tweets from a List I’ve set up of hockey writers from various media outlets (I’m always on the lookout for the latest NHL news).
Important Features of Twitter Lists
- You do not have to follow a Twitter account to add it to a List. This allows you to avoid duplicate content if you have panels open in an app like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck for both your general feed and your List.
- Twitter Lists are, by default, Public. This allows other users to Subscribe to them, so you can provide value by establishing and promoting the go-to List for a particular subject (i.e. Slovakian Pop Music Critics).
- Lists can also be set to Private, so other users can’t see which accounts are on them. This can be used to follow an account without that user being sent a “so-and-so is now following you” message if you’d like to avoid that.
Twitter can carry you away on a raging river of information if you let it, so try creating a List or two of your own to bring it back under control.
About the Author:
Dirk Hoag is the Managing Editor of On The Forecheck, a hockey blog covering the NHL’s Nashville Predators for SB Nation. He recently launched Working the Net, where he shares tips on blogging, website optimization, and social media. Find him on Twitter as @Forechecker.