Nathan W. Bingham
Connecting in a Hyper-Connected World

Twitter Lists: The Secret to Finding Order Amongst The Chaos

Fail Whale

I love Twitter, and I’m not alone. More than one billion tweets are sent each week, and most of those aren’t mine.

The longer you’re on Twitter the more users you’ll likely follow. You’ll find artists, authors, musicians, ministers, and brands that you’re interested in keeping up-to-date with. You’ll likely begin to connect with people who you’ve never heard of before, but who share great resources and engage in great conversations with some of the people you already follow. But, follow more than a handful of accounts and most people begin to drown in the flood of tweets. If this describes your experience, fear not.

“Follow more than a handful of accounts and most people begin to drown in the flood of tweets…”

Twitter Lists will help you keep your head above the twater, and find order amongst the choas.

What are Twitter Lists?

Simply put, Twitter Lists are lists of Twitter accounts. You can create up to 20 lists with up to 500 accounts in each list. These lists can be private (viewable only by you) or public (viewable and followable by others). You can also “follow” other people’s lists.

How does this help me?

When most people check Twitter, they are confronted with their main feed. In chronological order, all the tweets from all the accounts they follow are listed. This can be extremely overwhelming especially if it has been a day or more since you’ve logged on.

Now bring on Twitter Lists.

Instead of your normal mass of tweets you now have order and control. On your lunch break you can spend two minutes browsing your “News” list to catch up on the breaking news from all your favourite news sources. If you feel like some encouragement in the faith, then check your “Gospel” or “Quotes” list to check the latest updates from those who frequently share gospel saturated tweets. Own a Kindle and want to know if there are any new free eBooks available? Check the “Kindle” list you made. If 50’s company, but 1200’s a crowd on Twitter (and you don’t want to unfollow 1150 accounts) then simply create a private “Must Read” list and check that instead of your main feed.

Simple. Order. Control. 🙂

Sounds great, but I need help!

Fair enough. Help is on the way. Twitter has a clear tutorial on how to use lists here. If you use a 3rd party app, they’ll likely have their own tutorial on their website. Google is your friend.

Need help finding your Twitter “inner-circle”? A free service like Formulists can create auto-updating lists for you. If you add a list from their “Track Your Interactions” section you can get a list of those you most often retweet, or most often talk to. They also have interesting options for expanding who you follow by creating a list of the most common people your friends talk to.

You could always find your favourite people on Twitter and see if they have created any public lists you could follow.


Facebook have Friend Lists which can be used to do the same thing. They can also be used to control who sees certain Facebook updates. For example, maybe you want to exclude your “Work Colleagues & Bosses” from seeing pictures of you attending the local Start Trek Convention.

If you’re a regular on Twitter, do you use Twitter Lists? How have they helped you find order amongst the chaos. Have you found any other creative uses for Twitter Lists?

Leave a comment, discuss it on Facebook, or send me on a tweet on Twitter.