Is it possible to follow too many people on Twitter?
Can you reach a point where the number of people you follow just hits critical mass, and your feed has so many voices in it that all you hear is noise?
Well, yeah – you can! And when that happens, keeping up on Twitter doesn’t just become a pain – it becomes practically impossible.
If you’re following too many people on Twitter, you need to do something about it – and the solution is NOT unfollowing people.
Think about all the different types of people you follow. People in your industry. Friends and family. Celebrities. Taco Bell. All these different profiles are perpetually sharing different types of information – it’s like trying to participate in dozens of conversations all at the same time!
The thing is, there’s a quick and easy solution to that – and it’s not even new. This solution has been around for years, and yet a LOT of people on Twitter don’t even know it exists.
That’s why today, I’m breaking it down for you in a super painless guide. In about 15 minutes or so, you can completely de-clutter your Twitter feed and EVEN make it fun to look at again – all without having to give anyone the ax.
What are Twitter lists, and how do they work?
Twitter lists are one of this social network’s best-kept secrets. Basically, this is your way of turning your ONE news feed into SEVERAL news feeds. But I don’t wanna just tell you about it – let me show you, instead:
Go to your Twitter account and click right there on the ol’ drop down menu. Now, on the right side of the page, you’re gonna see a button that says “Create new list” – give it a click, and you’ll get a pop-up that looks like this:
Okay, decision time. Think about the different types of people you follow on Twitter, and how you might like to organize them. For example, I maintain lists for groups like tech journalists, Edgar users, Creating Fame members, and so on – it makes it easier for me to pay attention to what certain groups of people are saying.
You might do something similar. For example, you could have a list for customers, one for deal sites, one for your favorite industry blogs – whatever you want. (If you want other people to be able to see your lists, mark them as public – personally, I maintain both public lists and ones that are for internal use only.)
Each one of these lists is like its own mini-feed. So instead of having one enormous feed with errrrrbody you follow on it all mixed together, you get a bunch of different feeds you can look at one at a time, each with its own unique focus.
Start adding people to your lists
You can add a single profile to more than one list at a time, so create several empty lists BEFORE you start filling them out. This will save you a TON of time later on!
Once you have a few lists created, you can start adding people to them. Head into your list of people you follow, choose someone, and go to their profile.
I’m gonna say that I’ve gone into the profile of my pal Nathan Barry. Down by the little Follow/Unfollow button, you’ll see a gear – click on it, then choose “Add or remove from lists” from the drop-down menu.
That brings up a pop-up menu with allll your lists on it, and each one has a little checkbox next to it. Check the boxes next to the lists you want this person on, and boom – they’re on it. Simple as that.
Your first order of business, then, is sifting through the list of people you follow – which may be a LOT bigger in some cases than in others – and organizing people into different lists.
Your SECOND order of business is seeing what lists other people have YOU on.
What Twitter lists are you already on?
Back on your own Twitter lists page, you’ll see all those lists that you created in a… well, in a list! And at the top of that list, you can choose between displaying “Subscribed to” (aka, the lists you’ve made) and “Member of” (aka, the lists other people have put you on). Click on the latter, and you’ll see every list that another person has put you on:
This is useful for two reasons. First, it allows you to see the ways other people have categorized you – it’s like peeking at their interpretations of your brand identity. (“She Biz Master”? Um, I’ll take it!)
Second, it allows you to see who ELSE is getting categorized the same way you are. Say you’re on a list like “Life coaches,” “Cooking geniuses,” or “Dog whisperers.” Who ELSE is on that list? To whose standards are you being held? This is a golden opportunity for you to see who’s on your playing field, and what they’re doing that you’re not (and vice versa).
Take a shortcut by subscribing to other people’s lists
Don’t want to take the time to curate your own list right now? That’s okay – there’s a super quick shortcut you can take.
Visit somebody’s Twitter profile and click on the “More” button, then choose “Lists” from the drop-down:
On this screen, you’ll be able to see the lists that they’ve already taken the time to create. For example, these are the lists subscribed to by local business consultant extraordinaire Vicky Lyashenko:
Now, you can see three rock solid lists here – and each one was created by a different person! (I bet that one in the middle is especially amazing – don’t know why, just have a feeling.)
Click on any one of those lists and it’ll take you right there, where you’ll be able to subscribe to it yourself:
Sha-boom! Just that easy. Now you’ve added that list to your own collection, and you didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting yourself. Pretty sweet, right?
Now PLEASE, go, get organized!
How many hundreds of people are you following right now? (Or how many thousands?) That’s just not manageable, yo! Don’t let one of Twitter’s best-kept secrets go to waste. Start organizing your followees into lists, so you can more easily track the conversations you want, when you want.
Got any list recommendations of your own? Share them in the comments so everyone can start subscribing!