How to make Lists in Twitter & 20 ways to use them

How to make lists in Twitter.  Step by step to learn how to make and use lists in Twitter and why you need them.  Bonus - 20+ ideas on how to use your lists.


It’s funny how sometimes we can miss the obvious, and this is one area that I’ve been missing out on so maybe some of you have too.  Twitter LISTS – I didn’t even know such a thing existed until I saw someone I was following had ‘Lists’ shown on their profile so I had to learn more about what they are, how to set them up and why you might want one or more lists on Twitter.

A list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list. Note: Lists are used for reading Tweets only.

Why use a list on Twitter?

Do you find Twitter a bit overwhelming?  Followed so many people in all sorts of topics and disciplines and now your feed is a constantly changing, continually updating random rant from friends, celebrities, family, co-workers, other moms from school, bloggers you follow and brands you want to work with – all just jumbled in together.  Yes, guilty of that.

So how do you find more easily what you want to see, and interact with those tweets that are critical to you for moving your site and business forward?  Well, lists is an excellent way to do that.  Set up separate lists for friends and family, bloggers according to topic, brands that you want to work with, products and services that you partner with, or services that you use.  Keep them all organised and be able to cut right to the heart of Twitter on your next visit. It works as a filter, creating order in the disorder.

How to make lists in Twitter.  Step by step to learn why and then how to make  lists in Twitter and what they can do for you and your blog/business.  Bonus - 20+ ideas on how to use your lists.

You can even add people to a Twitter list without the need to follow them. This can be helpful if you want to follow someone’s tweets without actually being seen publicly to follow them – sneaky!  Following someone can be seen as endorsing or agreeing with them, so if you want to read a controversial feed, add them to a private list without following and keep your Twitter browsing confidential.

How to make lists in Twitter

You can create both public and private lists on Twitter, and setting them up is almost the same.

Start by clicking on your Twitter avatar, and click lists on the drop down menu.

How to set up and use Twitter lists

If you already have lists, then they’ll be listed here but if not then you can now create one. Click on Create new list on the right-hand side.

How to set up and use Twitter lists

Name your list, add in a description and set it to public or private, and then save the list.  Remember, if your list is public then the name is public too, so try to make it descriptive, but also interesting!  I’m setting mine to ‘Retweeting super-stars’, and anyone who retweets one of my tweets will get a space on my list and my undying love 🙂

How to set up and use Twitter lists

Now you have a list set up, but it’s empty, so you need to add people to your list.  To add someone to the list, go to their profile and click on the little gear icon next to the Follow Button.  Remember you don’t need to follow someone to be able to add them to a list.  Click on the gear and select Add or Remove from Lists.

How to set up and use Twitter lists

Up comes the name of your lists.  You can add a profile to one or more than one list at a time.  Check the boxes for the list you want to use.

How to set up and use Twitter lists

Now when you go back to your profile and click on lists, you can see all of the lists you have set up.  Click on each list to see the tweets only from the people in that list.  Genius!  Now you can really engage with the influencers and brands in your sights this year, or make social arrangements with your friends and keep it all neatly compartmentalised in your feed.

You can find your lists or anyone else’s lists here.

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When you add a user to a public list, they’ll receive a notification either by email or with a notification on their account the next time they log in to Twitter, depending on their notification preferences set.  If you add someone to a private list, they won’t be notified, again giving you some discretion and privacy in who you follow.

Subscribe to someone else’s list

Has someone you follow already made up a dream list full of the people you would want to hear from?  Great, then a lot of the work is already done for you.  You can subscribe to someone else’s list with a single click and then that list will be added to your own lists so that you can find it easily.

Go to the Twitter user and click on Lists on their profile.  Find the list you are interested in and click on the list name.  In the box top left, click on Subscribe and then this list is added to your own lists.  You can’t amend someone else’s list or add to it, but you can subscribe to it so that you can get the filtered feeds without having to follow all of the individual members.

How to set up and use Twitter lists

Ideas for how to use lists

  1. Staff list for work
  2. Team members – any kind of team, social, sport or work related
  3. Event list – invited or attending people or event organisers
  4. A client list (make this one private)
  5. Helpful resources for people who follow you
  6. People you want to work with – retweet and engage with these often and get noticed!
  7. Close friends and family, or other social life groups
  8. Interest groups – people you follow on a particular topic, i.e. sewing, Minecraft, etc
  9. Celebrities
  10. Moms, families or teachers from your kids school
  11. Faith and inspiration lists for your daily devotional
  12. Networking list – for people you met at a blogging event
  13. Realtors to stay in touch with if you are house-hunting or looking to rent
  14. Other people on Twitter you recommend to your followers
  15. Brands that you work with – engage and promote sponsored content
  16. Location based lists – for vacations and trips away
  17. Your favorite recipe bloggers – or any subject
  18. Your direct competitors – keep a sneaky eye on what the competition is doing
  19. Your favorite restaurants and stores – look for sales and specials
  20. People who retweet your tweets – engage, engage, engage!
  21. And lots, lots more

Using lists can also be useful for working with other tools that integrate with Twitter such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck if you use them.

So there you have it – all you need to know about Twitter lists.  Have you already got any ideas for the sort of lists you might create?

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