Making Sense of Twitter with Lists

by Linda Parkinson-Hardman on February 29, 2012 · 4 comments

Twitter is a fabulous place to keep up to date on all that is new and happening on the Social Web.  It is also one of the most of the most feared online networks by the average ‘networker’.  This is probably because it looks overwhelmingly ‘busy’ all the time, and it seems difficult to make sense of.  All those tweets coming at you from the people you follow make it difficult to filter out what you want to ‘hear’ from the rest.

But there is a way to begin managing the knowledge stream and that’s through the lists function that every Twitter account comes with.

Put simply, lists allow you to filter the conversations on Twitter according to the people you add to a list.  For example, I have a list for businesses in Dorset and whenever I come across a Twitter account for a business based in Dorset I will add them to my list.  When I view this list I see only the tweets from the people I have added to the list.

You can create lists about anything including the top influencers in your market sector, specific subjects you are interested or even the people in your favourite business network – I have a lists for BNI Dorchester and for BNI in general.

It is also worth bearing in mind that you can make your lists public or private. For example the private function allows me to create a list of client accounts on Twitter which means I can spend more time supporting their activity because I can see it all in one place, quickly and easily.  Perhaps you could also use the private list function to create lists of the people you want to start building business relationships with so that the next time you meet them in a networking room you have something to talk about!

The lists function means that you need never become frustrated by the home page on your Twitter account again because you can keep an eye out for how you can help key contacts and networking buddies immediately and filter out the chatter from the gold dust in the process.

Linda Parkinson-Hardman
Linda is social media strategist and trainer with Internet Mentor working with clients to help develop realistic, appropriate and sustainable uses for social networking sites like Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. She is an avid networker both on-line and off-line and loves meeting people to share her knowledge and expertise with.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie Lawson March 1, 2012 at 16:46

Couldn’t agree with this more – Lists is definitely one of the top Twitter tools that made it possible for me to start operating Twitter effectively.

To not have all the junk in your timeline makes such a difference – you just get to the content that you want straight away – and even better, Twitter on the IPhone now supports Lists as well.

The only area I’m not sure about is whether to make the lists public or private. I can see the rationale for both – I’m just not sure what’s best yet…


Linda Parkinson-Hardman March 6, 2012 at 10:12

At first I started with ten different lists because that was the maximum number I could have on one screen in Hootsuite – but I’ve started adding more in and am just creating more Hootsuite screens to manage them. The private vs public debate is an interesting and I guess it depends on why you are using it. My Dorset business list is a curatorial role and therefore is a resource for anyone else to use should they wish to, but my clients list is for my own personal use so that I can carry on supporting people and therefore it’s private.


Patricia Blomeley-Maddigan September 3, 2012 at 04:54

Hi, Linda -
Someone suggested I use Lists, but it just looked like more work. Also, I didn’t really understand ‘the point”.
But thanks to this post, ‘the point’ is clearer!
So I could follow all the country music singers that want, put them in a list, make it private.
And voila! I could be alone with George Strait all day!! (Although, not sure if he posts!!)
Thank you, Linda


Linda Parkinson-Hardman September 10, 2012 at 13:23

Hi Patricia. They can look a bit pointless and daunting at first, I mean why would you want a list! But they are the hidden power behind Twitter in my humble opinion, it simply means that you can weed out and filter to your hearts content so that you can hone your experience and interaction on Twitter to what is the most relevant for you, as a user. BTW, I’ve never heard of George Strait – is he good? Linda


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