Let’s face it, your timeline gets filled so quickly that you can’t possibly read every tweet from every single person. There may be some people that you want to see tweets from but then you can’t find them in the pages upon pages of random ‘stuff’ that somehow finds its way onto your timeline. Twitter lists are a great way to categorize information within your timeline and enables you to be able to view tweets from people that you actually want to receive tweets from.

If you’re sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and you want to catch up on the latest Google search ranking algorithms, lists are a great way to sort through tons of tweets to go right to the desired topic. I think it’s hilarious that search engines have discovered how I would like to best receive information. They have algorithms for algorithms. But I digress.

So let’s say you have 10 minutes and you want to quickly search for techniques to organically move your website to the top of the search results. The fastest way to find this information in Twitter is if you have grouped all of the web and SEO people you follow together in one list. Then you simply click on your list and see what the experts are saying about organic ranking techniques. You can search without all the noise of other topics just waiting to distract you.

how to use twitter listsHere are a couple of tips on how to use Twitter lists:

1. Name the lists something intuitive to the way you want to view your information. For example, if we stick with the search ranking theme, you might have two lists: Organic Rankings and Paid Ads.

Both will have tips for getting your website to the top of the rankings. One will be techniques you can do for free and the other might be how to get the best bang for your buck when considering paid advertising.

2. Set privacy rules for your lists. Twitter allows you to make your list private or public (anyone can follow the list).

Here’s where you will insert a little common sense when deciding what to name a list and when to make a list public or private. Be respectful of list titles that you are making public. Remember that twitter allows you to add anyone to a list. You don’t need their permission.

Here are some examples of groups I’ve been added to:

Members: Members is a relevant title for the organization of which I am a member and non-offensive list name. The fact that this group is public allows future members to see a list of current members and may help them make a decision on whether or not to join. This is a great usage of a twitter group to provide social proof on the quality of members.

Followers: This is a relevant title and while not offensive, it’s impersonal and lack luster. It didn’t make me feel special by seeing that I had been added to a group called followers, along with every other follower.

Great Strategy People to Follow: Being added to this list made me feel good and made me want to post information that holds true to this title. Seeing a title like this makes me feel a sense of accountability to my followers.

These are just a few examples of groups I’ve been added to. I have no idea how many private groups I’ve been added to or what their titles are. Lists can be a great tool. Just be sure to use caution when deciding on a name and whether or not you are making your list private or public.

Ammie’s Assignment:  Make a list of the most important topics that you’d like to stay current with.  Give Twitter lists a try… Create Twitter lists so that you can quickly browse content.  Let me know how it goes.