Your Twitter is a mess!
At least that is what your mother would say if she saw how many tweets were flying around in your Twitter stream right now.
The problem might be that you are following way too many people, right? Well, you are certainly not alone.
So what is the solution to all your woes?
Twitter Lists will, first and foremost, help you clean up your Twitter mess.
They also have a bunch of other great uses, but first let's take a look at how you can create and work with them.
How to use Twitter Lists
We are going to take this step by step, and make sure you know all you need to know about creating and working with Twitter Lists.
Finding Twitter Lists
First, if you want to get to your lists, you can go to your “Me” tab and then on the left click on “Lists”. Easy, right?
If you prefer shortcuts click the following like to get to your lists https://twitter.com/lists
The other possibility is to go directly to your lists UR:
https://twitter.com/[yourname]/lists (replace the [yourname] with your twitter handle)
e.g. Mine is https://twitter.com/madlemmingz/lists
Once you do that, below your profile picture, you will see all your lists.
Working With Twitter Lists
If you want to create a new list it is pretty easy. Just click on the Create List button which you can see on the top right of the image above. That will pop up a new window like this:
The fields you need to fill in are quite straight forward, however be aware that the public/private radio button determines whether the list is only seen by you (private) or the world (public) so keep that in mind. There are also couple of limits on the field lengths:
- Names can only be 25 characters
- Descriptions are 100 characters or less
[tweet_box design=”box_11″]Make names and descriptions of your Twitter Lists very keyword rich, especially if they are public.[/tweet_box] It helps, as people might start subscribing to your lists and you might become famous (more on that later).
Adding People to Your Lists
Of course now you probably want to add some people to your lists. Don't worry, there are a bunch of ways you can do that.
When your list is first created, you will see this page where you can search for people to add to your new list:
You can also head to your Following page and add people from there (there is a link below the search field if you need it).
Once you have clicked on Add or remove from lists you will get a pop up showing all the lists you have and a check/tick next to the lists this person is in:
Of course, Ms. Ileane is an Influencer, so I have her in that particular list. You can also add someone to multiple lists just by clicking the checkbox next to each list.
Generous List Limits
The limit on how many lists and members of lists you can have used to be quite small, but in mid-2013 Twitter increased these limits. According to The Next Web:
…users can now have up to 1,000 lists with a maximum of 5,000 accounts in each one.
So no need to be shy now, you can go crazy on lists without worrying about the Twitter police knocking on your door late at night! (Excuse me sir, we hear you have been filling Twitter with lists!!).
Tools to manage Lists
Given how slow and painful it is to add people to lists (you need to do it one by one), I decided to go on a hunt for some cool Twitter tools.
You know that I strive to bring you the best information and the coolest tools when it comes to my blog posts, but unfortunately where Twitter Lists are concerned, there is a real lack of tools.
All I found were a few outdated posts and links to tools. Signing up for one of these tools almost got me locked out of my Twitter account – the things I do for you guys!
In the end, the only working and reliable tool I found was this: Twitter List Manager
It did not blow me away (I have high standards as I am a web developer myself), but it does allow you to add and remove people to lists more easily than on Twitter itself.
If you need to work extensively with lists it is worth checking out. But keep in mind, it is not going to rock your world!
Otherwise, my main tip to you:
add people to lists when you first discover/follow them
That way, it saves you from messing with your lists all the time.
Reasons to use Twitter Lists – let me count the ways…
If you are already familiar with lists, or perhaps wondering at this stage why they are so cool, it's time to keep reading…
Organizing your Twitter mess
We all know your Twitter stream is a mess, with thousands of tweets flying by at the speed of light (ok, that is an exaggeration, but you know what I mean).
That is where lists come to the rescue (imagine a Twitter-like Superman flying in to help!).
By adding people to categorized lists, you can sort out the people you follow and more easily watch what they are tweeting.
To see the tweets of people in your lists – simply click on the list itself. That will take you to a filtered stream of tweets from those users.
You can always bookmark those links too, if you want a little more Twitter convenience.
Here are some ideas for the kinds of lists you can create:
- people sorted by niche
- influencers in your niche
- people in your local area
- people going to (or recently met) at conferences
There are obviously plenty of other ideas and strategies for lists, and if you want even more of them – Mashable seems to be one of the most creative in this area, or you can see this really awesome Twitter list tip from Aaron Lee.
To follow or not to follow?
Although Shakespeare is obviously not on Twitter, he may have asked this question if he were alive today!
So do you have to follow everyone? No!
But, sometimes you want to watch someone's tweets and you don't want to follow them. I won't question your motives here (or mine), but there are many reasons this might happen.
So let's assume you are in that situation. What can you do?
By adding someone to your lists, you can avoid following them but still keep an eye on their tweets!
Yes, you read that correctly.
You don't have to follow people for them to be in your Twitter Lists.
Keeping your Twitter Lists private
I get it. You might not want everyone to see your lists, especially if you are using them for keeping in touch with friends or other personal matters.
That is where setting a list to private comes in handy. No one can see them but you!
Some other great ideas for private (or secret if you prefer) lists are:
- Keep an eye on your competition
- Watch your customers to see if they need help
- Specific lists for close friends or family (like Google Circles)
- List of employees (if you own a company)
- Interesting people you are not sure if you want to follow yet
The world of influencers
You all know influencers in your niche can be great people to follow and get to know.
What you might not have known: You can also subscribe to the lists of influencers in order to get a boost in your niche. Subscribing to a list will:
- place all those people's tweets in your Twitter stream (without following them)
- place their list in your lists (an easy way to grow your lists)
A note on subscribing to other people's lists: It is obviously not your list, so you cannot edit it. Therefore, you may want to use it as a reference for creating your own list.
Importantly, following someone's list is not a secret and neither is putting someone on your lists.
People are specifically notified when they are put on lists, much like when you have been followed.
So if you want to “tip your hat” to someone (an influencer perhaps) this is a great way to do it. Your lists needs to be public of course, which they are by default.
There are a couple of other kind of random things I wanted to let you know about lists, just to complete the guide!
1. You can see who is subscribing to your Twitter lists (it is inside the list, on the left)
2. You can see what lists you are a member of (maybe you are really popular!)
Lists are a great way of organising your Twitter followers and getting a better overview of all their tweets!
On top of that there are many tricks to using lists which can really improve your Twitter experience.
If you have not started using lists, why not give it a go. They really are one of the power-features of Twitter.
And don't forget to let us know in the comments how you are using lists! We'd love to know.
Come join me on Twitter too!
- The Tao of Twitter, Revised and Expanded New Edition: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time by Mark Schaefer
- The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
- Social Media Analytics – The 5 Best Tools for Online Retailers by Barrie Smith