Focus your attention with Twitter Lists

If you’re following hundreds or perhaps thousands of people on Twitter, keeping up with what’s happening is a time-consuming task. As you connect with more people, that’s not getting any easier.

A great way to help you pay attention to those on Twitter who are important to you is Twitter Lists, a new feature from Twitter currently in limited beta testing.


I got an invitation to the test and so I’ve created a first list, what I call Communicators: people who I find interesting and who aren’t necessarily communicators in their jobs (PR, marketing, employee communication, etc), just who I think are great communicators on Twitter.

It’s a ‘Twitter public’ list (you can also create private lists) so as long as you have a Twitter account, you can follow it. It’s not complete so I’ll be adding some more people to it. I don’t want to get it too wieldy, though, so it will probably hover around the 100 mark. That’s about 10 percent of all those who I currently follow.

From your Twitter account you can also check which lists created by others you’re included in.

I wondered what real use such lists would have if you use a third-party app for your Twitter interactions – TweetDeck, for instance, as I do – rather than go to the Twitter website.

Good news coming, says Twitter:

[…] We started working on this [lists] feature because of the frequent requests we received from people who were looking for a better way to organize information on Twitter. Of course, that means not just—the Platform team will follow up in a few days with information on the Lists API. This will allow developers to add support for Lists into your favorite Twitter apps.

Great: if TweetDeck and other third-party developers add support for Twitter Lists to their apps, this new feature will no doubt take off. I’d certainly do more lists and add those to my app, probably instead of using TweetDeck’s built-in groups feature.

Twitter Lists is a beta so how it develops will probably change. It could do with some additional features. RSS, for instance: I’d like the option to subscribe to a list via RSS. I do that now with my followers (I don’t read tweets that way, incidentally: getting tweets in an RSS feed is extremely useful for easily searching content by keywords).

Organizing the increasing amounts of information we’re exposed to every day and focusing on that which you want to give your attention to, is a real chore.

The more useful tools there are to take the drudgery out of this and automate such tasks, the better.

Related – some good guides are already out there about Twitter Lists:

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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