Taming your Twitter

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It’s no secret that Twitter is most PR pros social media network of choice. No other network offers the plethora of information, the conversation possibilities or the chance to connect with millions of people in real time. There aren’t algorithms preventing anyone from seeing our tweets or ranking others above ours. It’s all about timing!

On the user’s end, Twitter can get a bit messy. If you’re following hundreds, or thousands, of other users from all over the world who are interested in many different things, it can be difficult to weed through all those tweets in your timeline for information that you’re interested in right then. The unfiltered nature of Twitter is great for us as communication professionals, but as everyday users, it means that there’s a lot of 140-character tidbits popping up every second.

So what can you do to get your Twitter feed in check and make it as useful as possible? It’s really just as simple as using a tool that Twitter has built right into it – lists.

True story – I was recently trying to go through my Twitter feed for PR-related content for a bit of inspiration when coming up with ideas for new posts and prowling for tweets PR girls would be interested to see. After getting frustrated 10 minutes in when I couldn’t find anything useful in my feed, I decided to sit down and clean up the mess I started way back in 2009.

Getting Started

The best place to start is with your Following list. Somehow I had wound up following a couple thousand Twitter accounts in six years. Following that many accounts can lead to hundreds of new tweets every few minutes – talk about a headache! Go through the accounts you follow and remove any that you’re no longer interested in or that are inactive or spammy.

Once you refine your Following list, think about what lists you want to have. Your lists should be based on your interests and the accounts you follow, as well location- and media-specific lists for client work and keeping up with what’s going on where you live or visit often.

Creating your lists

If you’re following a lot of accounts, organizing everyone into lists can be incredibly cumbersome, especially if you try to do it all through Twitter’s interface. My favorite tool was Twitlistmanager. It’s a pretty basic design with your lists running along the top and the accounts that you follow along the left side. All you have to do is click check boxes under the lists you’d like to add accounts to and save frequently. Twitlistmanager also allows you to hide accounts you’ve already added to lists. Best of all, it’s a free tool.

Managing your lists

As with anything, you can’t really just set your lists and forget it. You’ll inevitably follow new accounts, find old ones that are uninteresting to you now or discover a new area of interest. It’s important to keep revisiting your lists once in a while to update them and add or remove users as needed.

Making the most of lists

Using lists is a great way to filter the tweets you see based on specific interests, locations and relationships. It can help to make Twitter all the more user-friendly by cutting down the amount of time you spend weeding through tweets from everyone you follow.

Another way to make good use of Twitter lists is to follow lists created by other users. By doing this, you won’t have to follow a ton of new people to get great content or spend time curating your own lists. Many PR girls have created lists that can be useful to all of us, from lists of industry thought leaders to brands we adore to media and blogs in different areas.

How do you make the most of your Twitter? Are there any lists or accounts that you love to follow? Share your best tips in the comments below!

 

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