A Brief Guide to Twitter Lists

There have been a couple of Twitter-related articles in my blog-feed lately. First, by The Book Designer, who have written some solid advice for polishing up your avatar and bio, then going a bit more in-depth into ways of building engagement through your tweets, and trending Twitter topics.

The second article was from Alana Munro, an author I’ve been following since I first started blogging. She’s hosted a post from Megan Ritter, who discusses the use of trending topics, hastags, and the all-important idea of reaching the right audience for you. I like her conclusion: “Don’t focus on numbers, work to create a following that will truly help you.”

In addition, I have recently finished reading Rayne Hall’s ‘Twitter for Writers’, which is a fantastic insight into how Twitter is utilised by different people and organisations. She writes with practical intention, and is open about the mistakes she had made. In some ways, I learnt more from her mistakes than from her advice.

I’m chiming in with my ideas about Twitter lists. This is something that Hall discusses in her book, but I’d like to share my experience with them, and how they’ve helped me.

When I had <100 followers, I had four lists. Three were writing groups I was affiliated with, and a private friends list. This worked at the time, but as my connections have grown, I needed another way to keep a track of everything, and more importantly, a way to make sure I was interacting with the people & organisations that matter to me.

I have lists for everything now – writing, education, Kip McGrath, writer groups, music tutorials, etc. You can see them here.

Twitter lists ensure I don’t miss anything from my friends, and the organisations I care about. I still have a private ‘friends’ list, and that’s usually the first thing I check in on when I sign into Twitter. It means I don’t have to scroll through gazillions of posts in my news feed to see if there’s a conversation I’d like to join in with my friends.

Lists reduce the feeling of overwhelm, especially when you begin dealing with large numbers of followers. I’m around the 300-mark, which is modest compared to many others, but enough to feel inundated with tweets, sometimes! In Twitter for Writers, Hall suggests to check in one or two lists at a time, and I’ve found this is working for me. For example, today I checked in on my Kip McGrath list, and tweeted a few people from there, as well as my Friends list. This way, I can have meaningful interactions with a few of my friends, rather than superficial interaction with lots of my followers.

Twitter lists help me recognise my connections, and reflect on my brand. I’ve written a lot about brand lately, with the most relevant post being this one, which I wrote last week. By categorising my tweeps into lists, I can see with clarity who the people I connect with the most are, and which categories of people (or organisations) I want to be more involved with. I’ve split writers I follow into sub-lists, as there are so many, which shows me they are my biggest connection on Twitter. It’s helped me realised I want to connect more with causes & charities I feel strongly about, as well as more people in the teaching & counselling industry.

Be aware that lists can sometimes work against growth. For a while, I was only interacting with tweeps on my list, and all but ignoring my main feed. This meant I was stuck in a narrow Twitter-world, and it did not give me room to grow. Now, I am careful to browse my main feed as well, and to be open to new people to follow.

How do you utilise lists on Twitter?
Is there another tool you use to help keep your Twitter life organised?

Share in the comments box below xx

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