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The Inside Scoop on Using Twitter Lists for Profit and Sanity

by Dave Wieneke  |  
February 3, 2012
  |  10,929 views

The dirty secret of social media is that as helpful and joyful as it can be, it is a time sink too.

Last year, I took two long breaks from all things digital to be fully offline. But this solstice, I took the quiet in a new direction. As I wrapped up client work, I thought to sharpen my digital tools, and I'd like to tell you about my first, and probably most ambitious, step: rationalizing my Twitter lists.

I don't know about you, but my lists had grown haphazardly, sort of like additions to a New England home. In short, my lists lacked alignment with the "cloud" of people I care to keep in touch with on Twitter.

Level Setting: Twitter List 101

Twitter lists are how you can "parse the cloud" of everyone you've followed on Twitter. It is how you can segment people you share friendships with, future clients, and sources of knowledge from people who have Twitter accounts.


You can have up to 20 lists, and you can choose to make them private or public.

When I add people to my public list of digital agencies, for example, they get a nice alert—and gain visibility, since others can find them via my list.

Software programs and applications also have access to those public lists. I use my digital agency list to fuel a daily roll-up of tweets with links via a service called Paper.li; I call my "publication" the Digital Agency Daily.


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Dave Wieneke is digital strategy lead at ISITE Design and a faculty member in Northeastern University's graduate program for Digital Media. He blogs at UsefulArts. Reach him via Twitter or LinkedIn.

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  • by Let Teddy Win Fri Feb 3, 2012 via web

    Six hours? Holy moly. How do people on Twitter get anything done?

  • by Mindi Rosser Fri Nov 16, 2012 via web

    This is one of THE best articles I've read on Twitter Lists...I am an uber-fan of lists. I simply need to "clean them up." It's on my to-do list by EOM (end of month.) Thanks, Dave!

    Which list should I add you to on Twitter? :)

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