How to organize those you follow on Twitter with lists

Go ahead, follow anyone and everyone you want to on Twitter. Lists can help you keep them organized.

The trouble with following too many people
In the early days of Twitter, the prevailing wisdom was to not follow more people than follow you. I think the logic was that if you don’t have as many followers as people you follow, then you’re not worth following.

Another reason often given for keeping the number of people you follow on Twitter low was that your feed would be too cluttered if you followed too many people. I admit that after I followed more than a couple hundred people on Twitter, it was hard to keep up with it all.

How Twitter lists help you reduce clutter
Then Twitter lists came along in 2009 and changed all that. A list allows you to group the people you follow by category. Say for instance, you are a baseball fan and like to follow professional baseball players. You can create a list called Baseball.

Once you have created the list, adding people to it is easy. The process varies depending on whether you’re using Twitter on your PC, mobile device or an app on your mobile device so I won’t detail the steps here. Search ‘lists’ in the help menu of the Twitter application you’re using if it’s not plainly evident.

You can add one individual to multiple lists. As an example, I follow @DbacksBaxter – the team mascot for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I added D. Baxter to these lists: Sports, Arizona & Personalities. You don’t have to put everyone you follow on a list. Doing so is not wise in my opinion.

You’ll see the real value of taking the time to set up Twitter lists after you have created a few. Let’s say you’re watching football on a Sunday afternoon. You click on your list called Football or Sports or NFL Fans – whatever you named it – to which you have added the people who play or are interested in football. Next thing you know you’re viewing only the tweets of people on this list who are presumably talking about the game(s). The tweets from others about weather, family or dinner are still out there; you just can’t see them for the time being because you have filtered them out.

Finding worthwhile people for your lists
A good way to find people to follow and add to your lists is to search a key word or hash tag when you know people are tweeting about a particular topic. Want to find other baseball fans to follow? Search #worldseries during the World Series. Try the same for #grammys or #oscars or any particular shows you like to watch. When you see a tweet you like, follow the person that tweeted it and add them to your list for that topic. You can do the same for other areas of interest.

Shortcut: follow other people’s lists
Maybe you think this is all too much work or just don’t have the time to manage one more thing. No problem, you can still take advantage of Twitter lists by following other people’s lists. The quickest way to find lists you might be interested in is to click on ‘Lists’, then ‘Member of’ while logged into Twitter on a PC. (Mobile Twitter apps may not offer this option.) This will show you the lists that others have added you too. Scan the lists and see which ones interest you most. If you like what you see after you click on the name of a list, you can subscribe to it. Now you have a list you can follow without having gone through all the legwork to create or manage it.

Top 100 Twitter lists
If nobody has added you to a list, see what lists some of your favorite people on Twitter have created. Or check out the Top 100 Twitter lists based on number of subscribers. Surely you’ll find a few that interest you.

Don’t let concerns about a little clutter keep you from following more people on Twitter. Instead, follow to your heart’s content and use lists to keep the people you do follow a little more organized.

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