I have put YOU in a Twitter list, wanna know why?

It’s been a while since I blogged – I am working on reducing frequency and increasing quality! (Lemme know how I’m doing?!)

If, like me, you’re following 500+ people on Twitter – you’ll recognise that managing and keeping up to date with people’s posts can end up being a full time job.

And if your full time job is actually the reason why you use twitter in the first place, then you need to spend more time doing that – instead of filling your day keep up with everyone’s tweets.

So far I have eliminated the following approaches as ”ineffective” in dealing with the volume of activity:

  1. Narcissism – only looking at ‘notifications’
  2. Lap of the Gods – Intermittently grabbing a random chunk of tweets, reading them, and accepting that I only read tweets from ‘lucky’ people
  3. Death by posting – Sitting there bleary eyed until the early hours reading everything until I’ve caught up, adopting a ‘you can sleep when you’re dead‘ rationale
  4. Ostrich – spending all day glued to your mobile device, as life simply passes you by

Clearly these approaches are ineffective, distracting and just plain ‘wrong’!

Not only was I wasting time, but they were defeating the object because you are likely to miss useful, interesting posts – and many people really do take time and trouble to craft their tweets well.

And if part of your on-line strategy is to re-tweet good stuff to share it with others, you’re gonna struggle to sort the twits from the tweets.

And it’s not just about volume.

Our brains CANNOT multitask effectively (have a read of John Medina’s “Brain Rules” – a GREAT read if you’re interested in more modern theory of how our brains work)

By adopting a combination of the approaches listed – we’re attempting to reconcile hugely varying styles, context, information and relevance – all at the same time.

Our brains cannot assimilate this variety simultaneously – and we really might as well not bother.

(Incidentally – I was gonna list “don’t bother” as option number 5 – but I’m sure that’s not why you signed up in the first place!)

Well if you haven’t used ‘LISTS’ yet, then here’s a revelation!

Splitting the people you follow into categories is HUGELY helpful in dealing with what you’re looking at. It means you use your time more effectively, you can concentrate on what you’re reading without distraction, and it really will improve the quality of your interaction with the blue bird.

This was my approach:

1) Decide on how your lists will be constructed

  • I considered the main subject the person posts about – and created lists for each. It’s hard work to set up initially – but really pays off in the long run. Have a look at mine if you like (@steveovoice)
  • Of course there will be variations – some people cover all sorts in their tweets but if you can decide what they MAINLY cover, create a list. If not – create TWO, and put them in both (or more!)

2) Work your way through the list of the people you follow, and add them to a list – or two, creating new lists as you go (if they don’t fit in the ones you started with)

  • Once you’ve done the slog to begin with – then you just need to keep disciplined as you follow new people (or indeed they follow you)
  • You can use something like Hootsuite to do this process more efficiently, but unfortunately even the premium version of Hootsuite doesn’t give enough info about each person on the contacts page to be clear where you’re putting them. So I stuck with Twitter itself

3) Decide on PUBLIC or PRIVATE lists

  • Bear in mind your lists are PUBLIC unless you make them private
  • That means that if you create a list entitled ‘idiots who waste my time’ and then put me in it – I will get a message telling me you did that. Personally, I’d be grateful that you even you took the time to give me so much consideration – but some people MAY get upset! If you create a PRIVATE list – they don’t get the message
  • Also – bear in mind that if your list is public – anyone can see who is in there, AND they can subscribe (copy) your list. Which of course is the point of creating a social media network in the first place
  • It also means you can subscribe to other people’s lists too – which is DEAD helpful when you’re getting started
  • But if you don’t like all that – then make your lists private

4) Enjoy a more streamlined Twitter experience!

  • I have found the main benefit of using lists is that when I am looking at ‘local’ businesses for example, I can consider the tweets in the context of this being ‘local’ information – and process, RT, or favourite them accordingly.
  • Then I may move onto looking at Voiceover people – and what’s going on there, or consider the people I follow who primarily tweet about ‘marketing’.
  • And if I want some light reading – or need a smile, I’ll consult my ‘funny’ list – yes YOU are in there! 🙂

So – if you then read your tweets via your lists, you are less likely to miss something because of the ‘noise’ generated by the other 1234 tweets jostling for your attention – which appeared on your timeline in the last 3 minutes!

Give it a try – you might find it rewards your twitter experience, and enriches what you get out of it!

If this article has been useful – I’d love to know.

Have a GREAT Day



Have a look at John Medina’s work here…



5 thoughts on “I have put YOU in a Twitter list, wanna know why?

  1. dabvoiceovergal

    Fantastic information here, SteeVO. Yes, really useful! I dig what you have to say and I like the way you say it! 🙂

  2. Jack de Golia

    If Facebook is a vast lake of information, then Twitter to me is a roaring mountain stream
    . There’s so much, full of inscrutable code (#blahblah), that I find it useless.

    1. steveoneillvoice Post author

      Hey Jack – thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it. Yes I agree with your metaphors – they’re interesting ways of describing the media. That’s one of the reasons why I (like you) decided to use lists – it’s a much easier way to manage what you’re looking at. For me, it turns the roaring mountain stream into small bottles of water – each one with a flavo(u)r of your choosing! Steve.


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