How can Twitter lists save you time?

Like most of you, I’ve gone through the motions of joining Twitter, trying to figure out what it really is and what’s in it for me. If you’re reading this, then you’re a Twitter user who knows what lists are. You may have one or many, you may actually be on several.

But what good are they? No really?

Well I built a few lists early on.

  1. I created one for my corporate brands and individuals (I used to work for a radio group so all the stations, shows, hosts & other employees were on one list).
  2. I created another for my association and its members – I’m the Quebec regional direction for IAB Canada – consult my list here.
  3. Then as the number of accounts I followed grew upwards of 200 and too many tweets were coming in, I made a third list I called “Titan” for those that I really must see and read – leaving the rest for whenever I had the time.

Initially, I used lists in my TweetDeck which managed also all my various brands’ Twitter accounts and my own. I had a column for “Titan”, another for my radio group, and then went on to the regular ones: mentions, direct messages and All Friends (+my Facebook, LinkedIn & other streams…)

Eventually though I had to create a 4th list as I also began following some bands and personal interests outside my core. My core, 95% of every account I follow are in interactive marketing, advertising or communications in one shape fashion or form. But bands don’t fit in there nicely so I made a list for that.

It was in using this 4th list that it eventually hit me. That coupled with the fact I now follow 1000+ accounts (I know most aren’t active, but many are) and that when I do have time to read my “all friends” feed, I always find gems in those accounts I haven’t listed.

So like I said, it hit me. How Twitter lists can save me time in my Twitter reading and news discovery!

If you create a list for every specific topic you’re interested in and start sorting your regular followed accounts into them, you can then read a coherent & relevant thread on a topic at a time – like reading a particular section in a newspaper (something I haven’t done in over 15 years…).

So I now have 17 lists (only 3 of which I very rarely read). I seldom read the same post twice across lists as they are all clearly segmented: ad sales, branded content, marketing, location based marketing, social media, search, mobile, stats, IAB Canada, ad agencies, students & universities…

Now when I import my lists in an app like TweetMag (check it out it’s very cool) I can read one list at a time like if it was its own magazine. My time spent with Twitter is much more interesting, more to the point. I don’t spend time wondering why I started following such and such accounts in the first place.

I’ve also imported my lists into PeerIndex which like other influence ranking tools out there compares you with your peers on activity, audience and authority, among many other factors. I can now compare myself with my lists to narrow down on topics. The comparisons become much more relevant.

In subsequent posts, I’ll share with you the PeerIndex of my various lists which at the same time will show you who I follow on various topics, possibly allowing you to discover great new sources of info.

How do you use Twitter lists?



  • Aaron Eden says:

    It’s interesting how you’re maximizing Twitter List as all I did with it is use it to categorize my tweeps, nothing more. I think it’s important to use it as your follower base grows. Still, I love getting hands-on or simply, talking and listening to my tweeple – as it makes me look more real. I’m glad I’ve got the time last year to craft this tool that helps me save all those time I used to spend in posting and scheduling updates so regardless of how many my tweeple are, I get to engage with them more now. In the end, it’s all about conversations and building relationships that matter most. Cheers!

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