Tuning Twitter with Twitter Lists

This is the 2nd post in my “Taking Twitter to the Next Level” – series. If you have a question or issue you’d like for me to address just tweet me (@tsudo) or leave a comment below.

You’re a seasoned Twitter user and proud of the relationships you’ve built on Twitter but as your community has grown you’ve encountered a common problem.

It get’s noisy very quickly.Courtesy of Paul Bausch Onfocus.com

I follow 2200+ people and eventually someone will ask…

  • How do you keep up?
  • How do you follow so many people?
  • or I’ll hear, I need to unfollow people so I can listen closer to XYZ.

My answer to all 3 issues is the same. So come close and I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Twitter lists

Learn to use twitter lists well and you’ll unlock the power to pay attention and take your twitter network to the next level.

What are they?

It is simply a list of Twitter users.

Lists can be focused on subjects, locales, or relationships. They can be whatever you want them to be.

Want to listen to more locals? Looking to highlight industry voices? Take the time to create a list.

How to use them?

  • Use private twitter lists for listening
  • Use public twitter lists for recommending others
Private Twitter Lists

My private listening lists are my diamond mine. You can’t see them but they are crucial to my twitter experience. They are how I tune Twitter.

Here is my approach.

  1. Inner Circle – This is my friends list. I take great care in managing it because I watch it closely.
  2. Outer Circle – People that I’ve interacted with and have proven to share high value tweets.
  3. Curated – I’ve got a handful of people that consistently find the best tech/social info from around the world.
Public Twitter Lists

I create public lists to recommend high quality groups of users (and I listen on these as well).

  1. All About Twitter – Everything I need to know about twitter news and features can be found in this list. It is my ultimate Twitter knowledge base.
  2. News – Headlines and breaking News from around the world and local sources.
  3. Major Players – Movers & shakers online

My public lists have a variety of uses and purposes. For more good examples see Scoble’s Public Lists or Yahoo News public lists

Step 1: Create them

Here’s where most people get stuck. Creating and managing lists take’s time but the more effort you take in building your lists the better you list will work for you.

To add someone to a list you can either:

  1. Visit their profile and use the “Lists” dropdown menu to add them to a list or create a new list.profile_list
  2. Go to the people you are following page and use the list button therefollowing_list

*Bonus tip: Use method #2 when creating lists and change the view from expanded to list to move through the list more quickly.

Step 2: Use them

At this level of Twitter usage you should be using a twitter client on your computer. I recommend using Seesmic Desktop 2 or Tweetdeck and both clients make it easy to add your Twitter lists as a new column.

  • In Seesmic just click the “Userlists” dropdown menu on the sidebar and select your list.
  • In Tweetdeck click the “+” in the top row, select Groups/Lists and then just select the list you’d like to add as a column.
    • If you are already using Tweetdeck groups it’s easy to convert them to Twitter Lists. Here’s a video tutorial from @courtneyengle

Arrange your columns so you see the most important lists first.

If you use Twitter from your smartphone just use a client that supports lists. I prefer the Twitter for iPhone app and you can view your lists by tapping the “…” icon in the bottom right

All Twitter clients worth using, desktop & mobile, support Twitter lists.

*Bonus Tip: Turn your Twitter list into an RSS feed with Lists2RSS -Thanks to @TweetSmarter for the tip.

Final Word

This is some of the best twitter advice I can give.

Creating & Maintaining twitter lists is the BEST way to listen better

How do you use Twitter Lists? How important are they to you? If you don’t are you considering them?

6 responses to “Tuning Twitter with Twitter Lists”

  1. Andrew says:

    How funny that I just sent you a tweet about how the volume can be harmful to real communication…then clicked through to your profile, read your follow policy and then landed on this page.

    I’ve always wanted to use lists but they seem like so much work to set up. I do like the idea of private lists though. Guess I’ll give it a try!

    • Keith says:

      Well I appreciate you taking the time to click through, read, and leave a

      Twitter lists do take time to create but the sooner you begin the better. I
      started with industry lists and then moved to relationship lists and over
      time the relationship lists have proved to be worth every moment.

      Check out http://formulists.com They provide a great way to get started with
      Twitter lists.

      Thanks again Andrew. Pleasure to connect with you sir.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good article. I hadn’t heard of formulists.com before now and it looks brilliant. There is one big downside and it is Twitters fault…you don’t see the new retweets in lists. Makes me crazy and it seems few people know about this.

    • Keith says:

      I think Formulists is a really powerful tool and not that you mention it
      lists don’t support new RTs. Thanks for pointing it out. I learn something
      new every day.

      Thanks for leaving me comment.

  3. […] “Tuning Twitter with Twitter Lists” by Keith Crawford (@tsudo on twitter) […]

  4. […] trim the people you follow on Twitter or have friended on Facebook. Just quietly unfollow, hide, or use lists to help ensure you are seeing stuff from people that enlighten and […]

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