benefits of twitter lists

I really like twitter lists.  JobMob blogged about how to use them.  I agree with what they said, but have a different personal use for them.  Here’s my take on twitter lists.

I use twitter in several different ways.  Lists help me deal with those ways.

Current tweets

This is the traditional see things as it happens model that twitter was founded on.  I don’t read everything this way, but it is good for seeing a small number of the most recent tweets.

Before lists: I used TwitterFox now EchoFon to see tweets that come when I happen to be online.

After lists: Same.

Reading a lot of tweets

I get home after work and am curious what kinds of things have been tweeted that day.  This is where lists shine.  Even if you were reading the same number of tweets, it is faster to read them in logical groups rather than time.  And lists let you skip ones you don’t feel like reading.

Before lists: Follow less people so they wouldn’t clog up my tweet stream.  Use an RSS feed for some topics so they wouldn’t clog up my tweet stream but I could still read them.

After lists:

One time setup

  • Follow the people I was following by RSS so now I’m following everyone I want to
  • Add *all* my contacts to one list.  Some public lists and some private lists
  • Open all my lists in Firefox tabs and bookmark the set

To read

  • Open all tabs in Firefox.
  • Look at the ones I am interested in.  (for example, read jokes tab when I need a pick me up)

Reading tweets on a topic

Before lists: Scan tweet stream, search

After lists: Open the list pertaining to the topic.  Easy!

Public vs Private Lists

Public lists are good for things like

  • listing the JavaRanch moderators
  • jokes
  • topics of interest.

Private lists are good for things like:

  • hobbies you prefer to keep quiet
  • more sensitive topics (like the society of secret _____)
  • less than complementary lists (I have a “people-who-post-way-too-much” list for people who I am interested in periodically, but don’t want to read all their stuff)
  • “other” – a kitchen sink list until there are more people in that category – it doesn’t really make sense to others


Lists may not have been out long, but I rely on them already.  Combined with tab bookmarking, they are very powerful.  I imagine this twitter clients will catch up soon.

Follow me on twitter @jeanneboyarsky

One thought on “benefits of twitter lists

  1. Good ideas for a power user setup. Firefox Tabs + Lists = RSS Reader can be even better if you use the Firefox Tab Mix Plus addon while allows you to save Tab Sessions.

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