Twitter has become the go-to social-media portal for sharing tidbits of breaking news, personal thoughts, and serendipitous discoveries. Most people access their Twitter feeds – postings from those they follow – via portable devices,. Concurrently, smartphones are the devices that conveniently allow people to send tweets from conferences, crises, field work, and sporting events. The moved to and from them continue to explode, and Twitter is the major driver of those numbers.
But Twitter can easily overwhelm: follow a dozen people, and some of their followers’ posts will come to you as well, and the next thing you know you’ve quit using it because you don’t want to scroll through hundreds of tweets to find something that might be specifically relevant to your organization’s efforts. Thankfully, a bit of tweaking of your Twitter account and you’ll have lists to sort topics or(#) or particular people. Then you can tackle each list when time and interest permit. See how:
Sign into your Twitter account, and click on ‘Profile’ along the top menu (see screenshot to the right). You will see your (or your organization’s) recent tweets and another horizontal menu below the profile’s basic information and image. The last one to the right is ‘Lists.’ Clicking on it opens a drop-down menu and at the bottom is ‘Create A List.’
From there, the Twitter world can be controlled as you deem most useful. As you can see from the screenshot of my account (left), I like trying to come up with a few fun, though informative, names (‘dirty politics,’ ‘divine comedy’…). The lists can be made Public (for anyone with a Twitter account to find, see, and follow your lists) or Private (a list that only you can see). Which you chose depends on what you hope to do with the list. But an organizational Twitter account might find a public list of organizations you follow a great way to share information and gain followers to your own efforts.
You can then search for people/charities or, and those people/organizations will forever fall into those lists. The number of lists you can have seems endless (I admit my research only went into the high teens), but do be aware of the fact that too many lists puts you right back into the problem we are hoping to solve.
Once the lists are made, the beauty of such organization becomes clear when you jump onto your favorite Twitter software on your mobile device (We’re big fans of Twitterific for iPhone/iPad, and for Android phones has gotten rave reviews). Once you put in your Twitter credentials, there are your lists waiting for you.
Once there, you can chose the specific lists and pertinent information you have time to review during a coffee break, over lunch, or while awaiting the dentist (My ‘divine comedy’ is a big help for that last one, though often I wonder if I inadvertently pressed ‘dirty politics’). Of course, you can adjust the lists, add them, even delete groups of those followed on a list, at will. For example, I jumped on a few sports reporters during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, then deleted them en masse after the wrapup of Spain’s victory. Most decent smartphone apps will allow you to do this sort of sorting within their apps, though this blogger finds mass creations and deletions easier on a full keyboard (probably a generational thing).
And there you have it: a manageable list of followers/followees organized into manageable groups to keep you focused on what is important at the time. With the rest there awaiting your perusal whenever the doctor says it’ll only be a few more minutes.