Filter Your Twitter Stream – Use Twitter Lists

Is your Twitter feed overwhelming? Spend more time engaging your targeted audience using Twitter Lists.

Organization is important in almost every area of our lives whether we’re categorizing seeds (like in the photo), filing receipts for tax time, or following people on Twitter.

Often those new to Twitter complain that there is so much to read.  They unfollow “prolific” (often used as a derogatory term) tweeters because they “clog up” their Twitter stream.

You know you don’t have to read every tweet, right?

You can scroll. And you can filter.

Lists are the most under-utilized tool available to Twitter users.

The Tool Belt:

You create and edit lists on Twitter (desktop). You can add people to existing lists from Twitter mobile or Hootsuite.  I primarily use HootsuitePro because the columns you setup are the same on desktop or mobile .

For In-Depth Tutorials See:

Listing: What you need to know.

When you go to a user’s profile, click the person icon (next to the follow button), click “add or remove from lists,” and then choose the list.

You do not have to follow someone to be able to list them.  This can be helpful for celebrities and news people (that you make lists for).

As of May 30, 2013, Twitter allows you to have 1,000 lists with up to 5,000 people each.

So give your lists some thought.  It is so much work to go backwards and fix these.

Lists can be public or private. People know what the name of the list is and can subscribe to your public lists.  I don’t use private lists.

More: Twitter Help Center:  Using Twitter Lists

Why List: Following Ratios

It sucks when you don’t realize you can only follow 2000 people and then you hit a following wall, literally. You can’t follow anyone else unless more people follow you. If you followed no one back and are following 2000, you’ve got a lot of work to do, my friend, both to follow and unfollow.

There are additional glass ceilings that you hit, I (as @gidgey) hit another one at 5,000 and again 9,000.  It seems to me that the sweet spot is about 1.1 but Twitter says it depends on the individual account.

This is why I had to start unfollowing people who don’t follow back.  I really like who.unfollowed.me for this.

This is why I follow people back. The few exceptions are porn, how to get more users people, how to make money on the internet people, #TeamFollowBack (spammy, in my opinion), and eggs.

Like your cholesterol’s HDL versus LDL ratio, it’s important to shoot for a “good ratio.”  Carol Stephen

Only verfied accounts get to be non-follow-back-ers. This behavior can be viewed as arrogant, so proceed with caution.  Remember, it’s called social media for a reason.

As Twitter says,

Once you’ve followed 2000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow: this limit is different for every user and is based on your ratio of followers to following.

More Info: Twitter Help Center: FAQ about Following

Listing by Relationship:

In my talk, “You Are What You Tweet,” I emphasized the importance of listing and relationships. It is important to think about what relationships you may want to list.

Pencil out some of the choices you might have. Think about your business and or interests. Humor, automobiles, travel, politics, and sports are just a few of the endless possibilities.

Think of your three target demographics you need to stay in touch with. Write those down. Be aware that they will be notified of the name of the list.

When I worked for Riggins Construction, I put our clients and brokers on and another for our subcontractors.  Those were people whose tweets I always want to see, reply to, and share.

Now, for Give, I want to see our team, nonprofits, and WordPress users.

Listing can be done for any industry.

Listing by Topic:

Sometimes it’s hard to remember a follower when you need to.  Usernames are often hard to remember (exactly) and avatars frequently change.

When I wanted to remember the two painters I followed in Orange County, I was so frustrated.  I had a “construction” list for the @RigginsConst account, but it was too diverse.

I finally ended up making several lists and put the floor and tile people together the HVAC and roofing people together, the General Contractors on their own list, etc.

For Give, I started an #NPChat list. This helps me engage with those who are participating in our weekly chat during the week.

Listing by Geography:

There are many benefits to listing by geography.

For business and networking purposes, it’s good to put people who live in your vicinity, say county, on a list. This is especially important for brick-and-mortar businesses who depend upon local clientele.

For example, I have an Orange County list, I can go to that column on Hootsuite, and read only those tweets.  The list filters out my whole twitter stream (currently following 11,600) to show only the 376 on that list. Obviously, making the information more relevant and manageable for me. This gives me the ability to scroll through tweets and find gems even from four hours ago that I missed while otherwise occupied. I simply reply to start a conversation or share (retweet) their post.

Another reason to list by geography is if you’re researching an area to travel and/or move.

My backup plan, should I ever have to leave California, is to move to Arizona.  I started putting people on a list with other Arizonans.  I can read their tweets, interact, get to know the area, learn new things, and make friends before I even move.

Organization is the Key to Being Effective

Listing is the only way I think I could be truly effective at building relationships on Twitter. Prioritizing who you engage with is not bad, it’s just common sense.

The truth is, there are a lot of non-sense tweets, check-ins, and such, but those are also the tweets that show an individual’s humanity and personality. Discovering shared interests is the start of any friendship.

Happy Listing.

Feel free to check out my lists here.

Bonus:

Go read: “Twitter Lists for the Power User” by Carol Stephen for more ideas

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