Five reasons you should start using Twitter lists today
You’re out to lunch with a close friend that you follow on Twitter. She starts to tell you about the movie she went to the night before. “It was so lame,” she says, “I actually — well, you probably saw my tweet.”
You fake a laugh. “Oh yeah,” you say. You’re lying. You follow over 500 people on Twitter and can’t possibly read every tweet, even those written by your closest friends.
Or can you?
Sorting people you follow into Twitter lists hase been possible since 2009, but few users have really harnessed the power of the list. Here are five reasons you should start building lists now.
1. Slow down a rushing river. The more people you follow on Twitter, the faster the stream of tweets moves, and the shorter the life span of an each tweet becomes. Put your favorite 20 tweeters into their own list, that list’s updates will arrive less frequently than those in your default stream, and you’ll miss fewer tweets from the people you care about most.
2. Focus on specific groups. In addition to your BFF list, you can make a list of your favorite celebs, journalists or anyone else who posts interesting tweets. So when you only want to focus on a certain type of content, you can read only the lists that pertain to that topic.
3. Let other people know that you value their content. Whenever you add a new member to a Twitter list, that user gets an email notification. Want to let your funniest tweeters know that they’re good for a laugh? Add them to an “LOL” list.
4. Position yourself as a thought leader. New Twitter users often rely on Twitter lists to find new people to follow. One might search for “artists on twitter” or “ad agencies twitter.” Michael Gass’s “ad agencies” list, which has 813 followers, is one of the top Google results for “ad agencies twitter.” Chances are, people who trust Michael’s list also trust Michael himself as an industry expert. Create a list that shows your expertise.
5. Follow more people — without really following them. So somebody decided that it’s ‘uncool’ to follow a bunch of people, especially if you don’t have many of your own followers. You can create an overflow list for new Twitter friends that you don’t want to count against your cool follow ratio. Make the list private, and no one else will know how many people you actually follow this way.
Creating and curating Twitter lists is easy. Go to the profile page of any user, click the silhouette drop-down button, and choose “add or remove lists.” From there, you can create a new list, or add a user to a list you’ve already made.
Once you’ve created your lists, consider using a Twitter reader like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Seesmic to read them. These platforms allow you to view your lists side by side, transforming your single raging river of Tweets into a more manageable trickle that drips Tweets at your own pace.