How to use Twitter lists to organize and navigate Twitter

How to use lists to organize and navigate Twitter

twitter-birdieLet’s face it: Twitter can be daunting. Especially if you follow a lot of people. Maybe you’re an author and follow other writers, fans, publishers, agents, celebrities, whoever. Maybe you just enjoy the conversation on Twitter and so you follow a bunch of different folks from celebrities to local businesses to family members.

Whether you follow fifty people or fifty-thousand, using Twitter lists can make the experience much saner! (Also, a lot of folks don’t realize that you can add someone to a list without actually following them!)

This post will teach you how to use Twitter lists to organize Twitter and to better navigate Twitter.

Let’s get started. Lists are a way that you can sort through the stream of conversation that is the world of Twitter. I have thousands of people I follow. If I had to find my friends’ or family’s tweets in that stream, I’d be dead meat. But if I put everyone in a private “Family” list, all I have to do is go to that list to see what everyone is up to.

Similarly, I can keep all my publishers in one list, celebrities I follow, local stores I frequent, etc. etc.

Not only that, but I don’t necessarily have to create the list! Lists can be either public or private–and you can subscribe to the public ones! That’s how I keep track of people in my local writing group chapter. I subscribe to the Twitter list that a member of the group created. Sweet!

Creating a List

Julie Kenner's Twitter Screen
What you see when you arrive on Twitter when you’re logged in.

First thing you want to do is go to Twitter and log in.  Once you go, you should see something like the image on the left (my Twitter page).

Let’s say that you want to put your five best friends into a list called “Besties.”  First, you need to go to where you set up the lists in Twitter.  That is in the top right of the screen–the little gear next to the blue writing prompt icon.

When you click and pull down, it will look like  this:

The menu on twitter
The “gear” on Twitter drops down to a menu that includes “lists”

Now, click on “lists”.

This will take you to a page that looks like this:

The List View on Twitter
This is what you see when you click on Lists. If you don’t have Lists, the “list” portion will be empty. But we’ll soon fix that!

See the “Create List” button to the right of “Lists Subscribed to/Member of”?  Click on that!

You’ll get a new box that looks like this:Create a List


We wanted to call the List “Besties” so you’d type that in the List Name.  You don’t have to have a description, but you can add it if you want.

If this list is just for you to organize your Twitter life, you may want to keep it Private (just click that button).  If you want other people to be able to see (and subscribe) to your list, then keep it on the default Public setting.

Once your list is created, Twitter will prompt you to add people to it.  Navigate to the people you want using their name or their Twitter handle (i.e., @juliekenner).  Their information will pop up in list format.  (In the image below, I searched for my buddy Dee Davis.)

Beside the person’s name will be a little icon that looks like a person with a drop down arrow.  Click on the arrow to get another menu.  It will look something like this:

Add Someone to a List Screen
The first step to adding someone to a list. Click the little person icon!

As you can see, the third item on the drop down menu is Add or remove from lists.  Click that.

You will get yet another screen. This one will show you all the lists you have created with little check boxes beside them.  Check the box you want to add your friend to (in our example, you’d check “Besties,” but since I hadn’t created that list when I took the screenshot, we’ll just say that we want to add Dee to “my new list”).

It will look a bit like this:Add to List Screen

Check the appropriate box and voila! you have a list!

To add more people, simply search for that person, click on the little “people” icon and repeat the process!

Once you have lists in place, when you navigate to that list, you see only the tweets made by the people in your list.  A much more manageable chunk!

But how do you navigate to the list?


Just click on the “me” button at the top of your screen.  The bottom item on the top left box is “lists”.  Click there, and you will see all of your lists pop up underneath your profile box.

This is the Box on the Me Screen
This is the Box on the Me Screen








So there you have it!  That’s how you set up (and find) a list!

But what if you want to subscribe to someone else’s list?  Or tell them how to subscribe to yours?

Also super easy.

Just navigate to someone on Twitter.  Let’s go to my Agent’s twitter page,

When you arrive, you’ll see the box in the top left with “Lists” as the bottom option.  Click on that, and you get to what I’m calling the “List View” page.

One of those is Trident Agents.  If you click on that, you’re given the option to subscribe.  (See, it’s in the top left about where it used to say “Lists”).  Just click!


Now back at your own profile, when you go to your List View, Trident Agents will be in your lists.  Not as one you created, but as one you subscribe to.  Click on it, and you will be seeing only those tweets!  Groovy!

My lists


So there you go!  I hope this intro to using Twitter lists was helpful!

Next Twitter How-to:  Using hashtags (#)!

Did this help? What Twitter topics would you like to see covered?

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