How Twitter Lists Turned a Former Skeptic Into a Believer

When I hear that someone “hates Twitter,” my immediate response is that they must not have discovered Twitter lists. I too used to hate Twitter. I didn’t get how anything of value could come from 140 characters, and I had a hard time finding the signal in the noise. I have done a complete 180 and now use Twitter as my go-to for news, industry knowledge, informal mentorship and many different kinds of outreach. Why? Mostly because of Twitter lists.

Twitter lists help me filter only the information I want to receive at a particular time, rather than trying to wade through a single, massive feed. I have set up Twitter lists for the Mobile Customer Experience Industry (my company Apptentive’s industry), Apptentive Competitors, Influential Reporters, Ballers (my “work crush” list – women I admire and want to emulate), Influencers (people I want to learn from), Women’s Orgs, and Friends.

My Twitter Lists

Work-Related Lists

On my morning commute, Twitter Lists allow me to quickly see what’s going on in the industry, what our competitors are up to and what reporters in our space are saying. Reporters often post questions or requests to Twitter and whoever responds first (or close to first with the best information) could get a quote or a story opportunity. By checking these lists first thing in the morning and again in the afternoon, I can stay up to date and minimize the risk of being blindsided or surprised. I can also figure out which articles are most relevant for my team and then share those out via our @Apptentive Twitter handle or through a Shareable Bites email (socially optimized bites that our team can share via their social media outlets – more on this soon).

Informal Mentorship from Work “Crush” List

Finding a mentor can be hard. I’ve found an effective way to receive informal mentorship is by setting up a Twitter list of specific people I want to learn from. My “Ballers” list is a private list of influential women in tech, most of who are involved in marketing. Since visualizing the future is very important to me, this list is made up of a handful of women who are one or two steps ahead me in their careers, mostly in my field. I learn what they read, where they get information, what they think about, what drives them crazy, what gets them excited, what they care about and much more. (Read the complete post Turn Your “Work Crushes” into Informal Mentors with Twitter Lists).

Influencers List

Another important list I’ve created is called Awesome People/Influencers. This list is very diverse and includes more of the usual suspects – it has bigger names in tech and beyond, all people who share very valuable content. This list has absolutely made me smarter and through it I’ve learned about opportunities such as the Coaching Fellowship, which I discovered via one of Adam Grant’s tweets.

Friends List

Facebook is the social network I use for friendship relationships, however, I also follow many friends on Twitter. I’ve noticed that on Twitter my friends post more work-related content and share articles they are reading. Since I’m not on Facebook everyday, this is a quick way to get a snapshot of what some of them are up to.

Keep in mind that you can create a private or public list. No one else can see or subscribe to a private list. However, anyone can search and find a public list and subscribe to it. I subscribe to lists created by Shauna Causey, Cat Posey, Salim Hemdani and Erin Martin.

Public Twitter Lists

I highly recommend setting up Twitter lists (here is a quick how-to). Twitter’s mobile app makes it very easy to do a quick scan of my Twitter lists to gain great insights.

What creative uses have you found for Twitter lists? What have you learned from them?

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