I love Twitter. I think it may be my favorite social platform. Twitter is quick, easy and to the point. Sometimes it can be a challenge getting your point across in 140 characters (or less if you include an image) but I find that allows for the opening of dialogues. I know some people, even other bloggers, that hate Twitter. And I understand that. My disdain for Facebook as a social media platform (although I enjoy it for personal use) is no secret. I find Facebook to be frustrating and with its constant hunger for change it often leaves me scratching my head. Just when I think I have it figured out it shakes everything up and I have to start all over again trying to figure out how to best use Facebook as a business tool.
But enough about Facebook. This post is about Twitter. One of my favorite features of Twitter is Lists. Lists make Twitter easy and relevant. They give you the ability to filter out noise, to keep up on what your favorite engagers are doing and to make new, meaningful connections.
Because my audience is quite broad in terms of their use and knowledge of Twitter I may touch on things you already know but perhaps give you some new ideas on how to utilize Twitter Lists to make life easier.
What is a Twitter List?
A Twitter List is a curated list of twitter users – to put it simply. They give you the ability to organize the people you follow in a way that is meaningful to you. Once you make a list or lists you can chose to just view the timelines of those in the list at any given time.
How do I make a Twitter List?
It’s easy! Just click on your little profile picture on the top right of your twitter page. Now click on Lists in the drop down box.
Over on the right hand side of the page you will see a box that says Create New List.
Click on that. Another box pops up prompting you to give your list a name and a description. The name is mandatory, the description is optional.
The other field you will see is the Privacy field. It’s pretty self explanitory – if you make your list public anyone can see and subscribe to your list. That means everyone, not just the people you put in the list. If you make your list Private only you can see it. Even the people you put in the list won’t know you’ve put them on there. Pick your privacy setting and hit save list.
This is what you will see next. If you don’t know the twitter handle of the people you want to add to your list you can search here.
How do I add people to my list?
The easiest way to do this is to go to the page on the person/place you want to add to your list. On the right hand side of their profile you will see a little gear box. Click on that and a drop down menu will appear.
Click on Add or remove from lists… A new box will pop up.
As you can see here this particular person (yes she happens to be my #BFFL) is already in two of my existing lists. Just put a check mark beside the list you want to add the person to. Now just close that pop up box. If your list is set to public the person you added will get a notification. If your list is private they will not.
If you want to verify that they indeed got added to your list just go back and click on your profile picture in the top right and click on Lists. You will now see a list of your lists.
I can see that I now have one person in my Test List. The little lock icon tells me that this particular list is private.
Ok I have a list now what?
Now you get to see what YOU want to see on Twitter. When you are in your list of lists (image above) just click on the list you want to browse.
What you see will look just like your regular twitter feed but only the activity of the people on your list will show up. You just engage with them as you normally would.
I want to remove someone from a list, can I do that?
Of course you can. Removing someone from a list is as easy as adding them. Just go back to the step you used to add someone from your list and this time uncheck the box next to the list you want to remove them from
Instead of going to their profile to delete them you can also do it by viewing your list members and deleting them there.
When you click on List Members on the left this is what you will see. To delete someone just click on the gear box beside them and uncheck the list you want to remove them from.
You can see in the image a List subscribers area. When you click on it you will see what other twitter users are subscribing to your list. In this case my list is private so I know that I have no subscribers.
What else do I need to know about my Twitter Lists?
- You do not need to follow someone on Twitter to add them to a list. They will show up in your list feed as if you follow them but you don’t. This is nice if you want to keep track of people that you are maybe going to an event with but don’t necessarily want to follow.
- Twitter Lists are NOT the same as Facebook groups. You cannot tweet directly to your group. Whatever you tweet will be visible to everyone on Twitter.
- Twitter Lists are awesome for Twitter Parties! I use Twitter Lists with TweetDeck for every Twitter Party I attend. I use a column for my own activity, a column for the hashtag and a column that is a list of the people hosting the party.
- You can only view one Twitter List feed at a time – unless you view them in an app like TweetDeck. In that case you can make a column for as many lists as you like and view them at the same time.
- Add yourself to your list!! If you make a list that you think other users may subscribe to then make sure you add yourself you the list so your feed shows up too. For some reason Twitter does not make this simple to do. Well to be fair it’s not hard but you cannot do it in Twitter. Here’s how to do it in TweetDeck and how to do it in HootSuite.
- Share your list. If you have a public list that you think others might want to subscribe to just copy the URL when you are in the list and share it to anyone you’d like.
How else can Twitter Lists be useful to me?
Do you know what lists that others have created that you are on? Yes you get a notice when someone adds you to a public list but those can be easy to miss. It’s really easy to find out.
When you are in your list of lists just click on Member of to see what lists you are on. You may be surprised at how many lists you are on! This is a a really great way to see who’s radar you are on and to possibly engage with more like minded people. If a list you are on looks interesting subscribe to it. Or go into the lists and maybe find some new people to follow.
There you have it – a basic run down on Twitter Lists. If you have any questions I will do me best to answer them. And if you have any tips or tricks to add please leave a comment!