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How-to make the most of Twitter lists to save time and get to the good stuff

Twitter is a crowded place, particularly if you follow a lot of people. Twitter lists help you to organise your followers and are a great way to cut through the noise, save time and find relevant information a lot more quickly. 

Things you'll need

  • A Twitter account

Get to grips with how lists work

Lists can be found on your profile page. If you’re using a computer you will see ‘Lists’ just below your header picture alongside ‘Likes’. On your phone you’ll need to hit the ‘Settings’ cog, which brings up a menu from where you can select ‘View lists’. In both cases you will see two options: ‘Subscribed to’ and ‘Member of’.

You might find you’re already a member of a list, depending on what you tweet about. If you haven't used lists before there won’t be anything in the ‘Subscribed to’ area.


Consider the types of lists you need

You can use lists to group Twitter accounts together by topic, location, profession and so on. In practical terms, if you’re a charity concerned with – for example – providing horticultural training and employment for people with disabilities, you might create lists such as:

  • Charities across the country which provide similar services
  • Disability rights groups
  • Garden centres in your local area

Finding people who are working in your field or talking about topics you care about and creating lists around them mean you have a constant source of relevant information at your fingertips. This is hugely useful if you’re looking for content to share on social media. 


Set up your own lists

Going back to our example of the horticultural charity, if you were running their Twitter account you may want to set up a list of garden centres in your local area. From your ‘Lists’ area, click ‘Create New List’ (on your phone this is a blue tick in the top right corner).

You can give your list a name and a description and, crucially, choose whether it is a public or private list. In this case our list will be public and therefore visible to anyone. Once you have saved the list, you can start adding people to it.

You can either add accounts one by one by name or you can add them from your ‘Following’ page. If you choose to add people from your following page, just click the ‘Settings’ cog and select ‘Add or remove from lists’ and you can select which list you want to add them to.

There are some important things to note about creating lists:

  • You are limited to creating 1000 lists
  • Your lists cannot have more than 5000 members each (why you would want to have that many people I don’t know, as you’re back to the same information overload as you had from your pre-list timeline)
  • Private lists are totally private and only the creator can see them. Even the people on the list won’t know they’re on there.
  • You can add people you don’t follow to your lists

Use other people's lists

Public lists are there to be shared so don't be afraid to use other people's lists.This will save you even more time!

Pick someone you follow and visit their profile page. By clicking on the ‘Settings’ cog and selecting ‘View lists’ you will be able to see any of the public lists they have created or subscribe to, as well as the lists they have been added to. Click on the title to open the list and you will be able to see tweets from members, who the members are and who subscribes to the list. If you like what you see, you can subscribe. Simple as that! This list will then appear in the ‘Subscribed to’ section of ‘Lists’ on your profile page.


Maintain and manage your lists

Once your lists are up and running you can add more people to them as you go along. Whether you’re on a computer or another device, the route to do this is via the ‘Settings’ cog on their profile page and selecting ‘Add/remove from lists’. Open your list to edit the title and description or to delete it, and to remove people via the ‘Settings’ cog next to their name in your list.


Use your lists to filter and find information

Alongside your main timeline you can now scroll through what people on your individual lists are saying. For each list you’ll see the latest tweets from those group members. This should save you a lot of time!

Further information

This guide was written by Gemma Pettman, a freelance PR and fundraiser. Read Gemma's original article and visit her website.


Page last edited Apr 13, 2017 History

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