I’ve had a few people tell me recently that they have no idea how Twitter works, and that they just don’t see the point. “It all moves so fast!” they frantically say. “How can I possibly keep up with all of these random tiny messages, and what does it all mean?! MADNESS, I TELL YOU, MADNESS!”
Then, in my most authoritative voice possible, I sternly say, “Calm down. It’s a social media site called “Twitter.” How intimidating and stressful can it be? Let’s break this down.”
This conversation was highly dramatized. But you get the idea.
There are a few ways in which you can make your life easier when it comes to using and organizing your Twitter account. The main way is through using the lists feature, which I have come to know and love very well these past few months!
Lists allow you to organize the people you follow based on categories of your choosing. Instead of seeing all tweets in one giant, messy stream of madness, lists allow you to sort them into sections!
For example, you may have a list for people you went to college with, people who tweet regularly about social media, people who tweet about anything to do with your industry, people who tweet about happiness, or people who are just really, really good looking. You may have a list for local businesses, celebrities, and/or news! However you choose to sort you contacts, it will make your life so much easier once it’s all said and done.
How do you organize your tweeps into lists? (And yes, I just used the term, “tweeps.” If you don’t judge me, I’ll do it myself).
- Log in to your Twitter account!
- Find your lists options (the little man in the top right corner of your screen will show you the way)!
- Click “lists”
- Click “Create list”
- Enter the name of your list (make sure that it’s something you’ll be able to understand, especially if you choose to make it public! Everyone and their grandmother will be able to see this list, so keep the profanity to a minimum. Unless you tweet about profanity. Then swear away).
- Add a brief description if you’d like. Up to you!
- Select whether you want this list to be public or private.
- Click “save list”
- Add people to your lists. If you are already following a good number of people, then this part may take you a while. If you’re just starting out with Twitter, then you’re in good shape, because you’re starting it off the right way! When I first started using Twitter, I did not do it correctly, and it took a bit to get organized. Once you get it set up, though, it’s much easier to maintain.
- Repeat steps 1-9 for whatever other categories you’d like to make lists for.
How to add people to your lists
- From your Twitter homepage, you’ll see a section on the left side that has 3 buttons: tweets, following, and followers. Click the one that says, “Following”
- This is a list of all of the people that you currently follow. Next to each name, you’ll see a little man with a drop down arrow. Starting with the first one on your list, click the little man.
- You’ll see a button that says, “Add or remove from lists…” Click that.
- Here, you will see all of the lists you’ve created. Check the boxes of the category (or categories) that this person fits into. If you notice that they don’t fall into any of the categories you’ve created, that’s fine! You’re given the option to create another list, here, too.
- Lather, rinse, repeat for all of the people you follow on Twitter.
Public vs. Private
Lists can be used for the public eye and for the privacy of your own account! There are reasons to do both, so just make sure to think it through before deciding whether or not to make your list public or private.
If you choose to make your lists private, then that means that these lists are for your benefit and your benefit alone. If you choose to make them public, then you’re doing it as a service to all who follow you and to all who are interested in whom you follow.
For example, Manhattan Sideways, a super cool NYC website that documents all of the side street local businesses of Manhattan, uses their lists to sort businesses by street. This helps people know which businesses are located where, and what is going on in that part of the city at any given time.
Some of my personal lists are set to private because I don’t think that the entire world needs to know all of my friends from college on Twitter. Especially when I label the list, “my homies.”
If you’re creating a list of all of your favorite restaurants, make it public! Let others choose to subscribe to your list so that they can try those places out, too.
Basically, as with all things in social media, use your best judgment. Do you want people to see your list or not? Done and done!
Now that your people are all organized into nice and neat categories, you can view each list individually in a couple of different ways.
- You can go to the little man in the top right corner, and click “lists” to view all of your lists.
- You can use a program like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to display all of your lists on one screen that looks like a terrifying and confusing control panel! If you’d like more information about these tools, send me an email and I’m happy to help you.
From this point forward, whenever you start following someone new, you can immediately add your new guy or gal to one of your lists so that you don’t become unorganized! As soon as you hit the follow button, make sure to categorize them, as well. Waiting to do this later will just make your Twitter life messy again, so try to keep up with this tool as best you can!
I’m leaving on Saturday to road trip to Knoxville, then Nashville, then back to Texas! Will spend about a week (ish) in Tennessee before heading back down South. Juan Carlos is stoked.
Speaking of Twitter, Angie Harris, my partner in crime from when I worked for a scuba company doing PR and social media, has joined me at Split Aces Media! Say hi to her on Twitter!
(Photo by LVK Photography)