The Super Easy Guide to Twitter Lists

If your tweet stream feels like it’s moving too fast, you’re missing tweets from those you want to keep up with, or you feel overwhelmed and like you aren’t using Twitter effectively, it’s not you!  You need Twitter lists!

What are Twitter lists?

A Twitter list is a list of Twitter users organized into a group. You can organize groups any way you’d like.

Each list gets it’s own page on Twitter that shows only the tweets of the people in that list.

For example, here’s a link to my Twitter list of tweeters I consider mentors/coaches/really smart tweeters. I add whomever I’m learning from.!/MichelleShaeffr/mentors

Here’s what the list page looks like (click to view a larger version of the image):

How do you create a Twitter list?

To organize those you follow into easy lists so you can view each group once at a time, make use of the Twitter feature called “Lists” by following these steps:

  • Login to your Twitter account
  • Go to your profile page
  • On the right side, look for “Lists” and click the “New List” link
  • Enter a list name, description and choose public (everyone can see/follow your list) or private (only you can see it)
  • Click “Create List”
  • Now your list will appear on the right side of your page
  • Search for the people you’d like to add to your new list
  • On the profile page of the person you’d like to add, on the same line as “Following” you’ll see a “Lists” button to click
  • A drop down will appear where you can check a box to add the person to your list
  • Repeat for anyone you’d like to add to the list

Once you’ve created your list, you can view a tweet stream that includes only the tweets of people in that specific list.

What types of lists should you create?

Here are the 5 basic list types I use to sort my Twitter connections.

Fun: Friends & Family

Connect with your friends and family for fun. Do keep in mind that if you’re using Twitter for business, each tweet will reflect on you and your business.

Information: Broadcast Accounts

Some Twitter accounts don’t interact much with their followers and are setup primarily to broadcast information such as new blog posts, updates to a website, news articles, inspirational quotes, or other tidbits. I follow a dozen or so local news sources to keep up with their breaking news tweets.

Business Building Relationships: Target Market

Small business can use Twitter as a great way to get in touch with their target market and find potential clients and customers. Use Twellow (the Twitter Yellow Pages) to find people by categories of interest. Choose some to follow and many will follow you back. When you watch this list, look for questions you can answer or resources you can share based on what they’re asking and looking for.

Business Connection Opportunities: Colleagues

Twitter’s a great place to connect with your colleagues. You can build your relationships with them by re-tweeting their tweets and watching for opportunities to be of help to them.

Learning and Growth: Mentors

If you have newsletters or business blogs you regularly learn from, chances are good the authors are on Twitter. Add them to a Mentor group where you can go for great business building advice and inspiration when you want it.

How do you follow a Twitter list?

You’re automatically following any lists you create for yourself. But another great feature of Twitter lists is that you are able to follow any list made public by another tweeter.  For example, I’ve created these lists:

  • Blogging Brilliance (people I’m following to learn how to write/blog better)
  • IHMB (people I met at Nancy Marmolejo’s I Heart My Biz conference)

You can follow either list by clicking the “Follow this List” button near the top of the page.

Some of the lists I’m following that are curated (created and managed) by other tweeters include:

Any public list can be followed by anyone on Twitter.  Any list you create that’s public can be followed by any other tweeter.

Quick Twitter List Tutorial

Here’s how to work with Twitter lists:

Or click here to view this video on

Over to You!

Are you using Twitter lists to sort and follow your Twitter friends? How do you organize yours? Any tips you’ve got to share? Tell us in the comments!

P.S.  If you liked this post, you’ll love what I’m putting together right now — watch my blog for details!

Squawking Bird Credit: fizzgig/StockFresh

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  1. I’m just starting to use them more lately Michelle. Thanks for the tips!

    I’m now also starting to set those lists up in Hootsuite columns so I can track them visually all at once, or in whatever amount of lists seems practical at the moment.

    Mtn Jim
    Mtn Jim Fisher recently posted… Your Local Police Probably Have a Social Media Strategy…What’s Your Excuse?My Profile

    1. Hootsuite rocks. I import my lists into the column layout after I set them up in Twitter so I can have them both places. I had some lists just in Hootsuite but found it worked better for me to create them at Twitter first, then copy them over.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Stay Focused and On TaskMy Profile

  2. […] The Super Easy Guide to Twitter Lists If your tweet stream feels like it's moving too fast, you're missing tweets from those you want to keep up with, or you feel overwhelmed and like you aren't using Twitter effectively, it's not you!  You need Twitter lists! Source: […]

  3. Michelle,

    I absolutely love this post, very helpful for those who are still learning about twitter and twitter lists and how they work.

    Thank you so much, I will definitely bookmark this post


    1. Thanks, Grainne. I’m so glad it was helpful. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Stay Focused and On TaskMy Profile

  4. Yay! Michelle. Just yesterday I gave up trying to figure this out and here you are explaining so clearly! I can see exactly where I was getting lost and love you to bits for showing me how to get these going.
    Thanks! I will be sharing this one for sure! :)
    Bonnie recently posted… I Have Some Bad News for Some PeopleMy Profile

    1. Awesome – that’s some cool timing, Bonnie. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Stay Focused and On TaskMy Profile

  5. Not that I am new to Twitter, but certainly will benefit from what you have taught me here!! Thanks for the info I will be back to review and practice!! I am on lists but haven’t made a list, and can see the benefit of really using the lists… Thanks you!! I am learning to do more and more, yeah!! Exciting as long as I don’t strat too much and forget some things along the way!
    Holly recently posted… More and More People Have Food Sensitivities. Why Is That?My Profile

    1. I was on Twitter for a while before I started using lists, too, Holly. Learning more is exciting, isn’t it? :) I love learning new tricks and tips.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Stay Focused and On TaskMy Profile

  6. Thanks for the tips. I’m a tweet virgin, but ready to get on board now!
    psychodynamom recently posted… My Seeing-Eye CatMy Profile

    1. Twitter rocks once you get the hang of it. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Stay Focused and On TaskMy Profile

  7. Hi Michelle thanks so much for sharing this information having these lists will definitely come in handy and you explain everything so well, I look forward to your future posts :)
    Angela Soliz recently posted… Password Management & Protection | Secure Your Online WorldMy Profile

    1. You’re very welcome, Angela, and thank you!

  8. Hi Michelle,
    I’m basically doing the same thing on Facebook. As I add new friends I put them into a list; have DreamCoaches, BigTicket, Friends, Family, etc. I can send broadcasts to everyone or those just on my list.
    Thanks for reminding me to create yet another list on Twitter.. my last one was ACLC ;-)

    1. Great tip, PeggyLee. Facebook has a similar feature with their lists which gives you a lot of nice options. I need to set more lists up myself over there.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Stay Focused and On TaskMy Profile

  9. Perfect information. Now I can put them together properly. I love your cool tricks that make things simple. Thank you.
    Ria recently posted… Candles For A Cause – 9/11 Candle Memorial – Interview with Lori OdishooMy Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Ria!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Stay Focused and On TaskMy Profile

  10. Thanks for putting this information together, Michelle. I’ll be happy to share this post as only recently someone in a Facebook group asked about more information on Twitter and this is ‘gold’ to help someone who’s new understand.

    You noted something that I’ve never done and that was to follow lists created by someone else. I’ve only done that if my name was on the list, as I just thought that was not something I could do. Now I know!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Yvonne A Jones recently posted… 7 Traits of Entrepreneurship That Lead to Business SuccessMy Profile

    1. Yes, there are some cool lists out there we can follow. :)

      And thanks for sharing the info, Yvonne.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Get Super Inspired to WriteMy Profile

  11. I have a twitter account but I’m not really familiar on how to use it, so as much as possible I’m reading different posts about it to know it further.

    1. Once you get used to it, Twitter’s a lot of fun, Nicole. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… The Easy Way to Add a Welcome Tab to Your Facebook Fan PageMy Profile

  12. Aloha Michelle, awesome post and I enjoyed such a great elaborate regarding twitter list. Gosh I had no idea you were able to do more with twitter. I sure does move fast on there, but after seeing what options you are able to do, it does make it more easier to manage. Glad I came by and thanks for sharing! Mahalo, Lani :)

    1. Yes, thank goodness Twitter’s given us easier ways to manage that fast moving stream. It makes it so much easier. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Get Super Inspired to WriteMy Profile

  13. HI Michelle,

    Great post!

    Awesome tutorial! I have just about recently started to create lists to manage my twitter accounts and have created lists for various writers, family and friends etc. Your post sure is great for newbies on Twitter like me!

    Thanks for sharing this information with all of us :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted… How Freelance Writers can Use Google+My Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Harleena. I love Twitter lists as they do make it a lot easier to keep up with people there.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… The Easy Way to Add a Welcome Tab to Your Facebook Fan PageMy Profile

  14. Hi Michelle, At times I do have a hard time keeping up with tweets and feel overwhelmed, Thanks for your tip on creating lists – this will really help. I look forward to reading about more of your tips.
    tim recently posted… Golf Tips for BeginnersMy Profile

    1. Hey Tim, yes, the lists will really help with that. Twitter can seem like it’s zooooooming by otherwise.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Get Super Inspired to Write My Profile

  15. Hey Michelle,

    This is the question I had in my mind exactly. There are too many people whom I follow and I almost miss the tweets of a few. I think using list really solves this problem.

    Thanks for the heads up.
    Ashvini recently posted… Good employee- What does it take for management to notice you?My Profile

    1. Right – this is the perfect way to catch tweets from those you really want to keep up. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Link Your Facebook Fan Page to Your Twitter ProfileMy Profile

  16. Hi Michelle,

    Super breakdown here, as always.

    I luv lists. I set up 1 for networking buddies, 1 for law of attraction buds and 1 for blogging buds. Need to clean them up a little as some have strayed into other lists….by my own hand, of course.

    Twitter lists strengthen bonds by helping you stay connected with folks on a daily basis. Overwhelm goes away as you forget trying to keep up with your entire stream. You never miss a tweet – if your list isn’t too big – building relationships as you remain in contact with like-minded tweeters on a daily basis.

    Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted… How to Make Your Home Based Opportunity Absolutely IrresistibleMy Profile

    1. Exactly, Ryan! It’s so much easier to really get to know people and build those relationships using lists.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Stay Focused and On TaskMy Profile

  17. Thanks for the reminder! I always set out to do this and then something else comes up. I recently really cleaned out the number of people/brands I follow so now I LOVE reading through my feed but I know that I could benefit more from organized lists! Thanks.
    Lauren Huston recently posted… A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words…ForeverMy Profile

    1. I’ve seen quite a few people doing that over the last year or so, Lauren, and some just dropping everyone they followed and starting again. I can see why! It gets crazy fast. Glad it’s working for you so you can enjoy the feed. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Is it Weird, Different, True, False…My Profile

  18. Thanks so much for the info! Perfect timing for me! I am new to Twitter, and was just wondering yesterday about how to create groups. Reading through all the tweets can be a little overwhelming, but hopefully will be no longer. Thanks again for the tips!
    Andrea recently posted… La Dolce Vita Series: Escaping the CityMy Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Andrea — glad this was good timing for you. You’ll like the lists as they definitely help with that overwhelm.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… The Problem With Conventional WisdomMy Profile

  19. Never thought about creating a Twitter list before and streaming twitter feeds have sometimes left me dazed! Will surely check this out!
    sandip recently posted… SurveySavvyMy Profile

    1. One of the challenges with Twitter (especially for those of us who were used to Facebook or other sites first) is how crazy fast it moves. So the lists help a lot with that.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Weekend Fun: Always ConnectedMy Profile

  20. Michelle, thanks for this guide. I use twitter, but not as effectively as I can and I have not spent too much time using lists. I apprectiate your guidance.
    Traci recently posted… A Walk on the Beach: Crystal Cove State ParkMy Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Traci. The lists make it much easier. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do You Want 7x As Much Exposure For Your Website?My Profile

  21. This is great info — and a new distinction for me about following other people’s lists! I realize now I’ve been curating lists that have probably been useful to to other people.

    What I want to know is, is there a way to import your Twitter lists into Hootsuite? I have lists in both places.

    1. Yes! Thankfully, since I do 95% of my tweeting in Hootsuite. :)

      Here’s how:
      – login to Hootsuite
      – go to the tab you want to add the list to as a column
      – click on “Add Stream”
      – in the pop up box, choose Twitter on the left
      – on the right click the tab for “Lists”
      – choose the profile that the list belongs to (if you have multiple profiles in there)
      – use existing list should be chosen, but click it if not
      – your lists will load, choose the one you want to add
      – click “Create Stream” button

      Remember you can only have 10 streams per tab, so if you have lots of lists you’ll need to use tabs to organize them within Hootsuite.

  22. Thank for this explanation. There is so much available to make our lives easier in social media, but it only works when we learn how to use the many features and tools.
    Flora M Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… 22 Ways to Push Past Writer’s Block to Writer’s BrillianceMy Profile

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