A Guide to the New Twitter Lists – Basics, Pros and Cons

Twitter Lists are the new feature on Twitter (still in Beta) that allow you to organize particular Twitter users into lists and view only their Tweets. For example, you can create a list of inspirational Twitter users by following these easy steps:

How to Create a New Twitter List

During the beta period, you should see an announcement for Twitter lists at the top of your homepage. Click the “Create a New List” button.

Create a New Twitter List

Alternatively, you can click on the “New List” link in your sidebar, right above the Trending Topics section.

Create a New Twitter List from Sidebar

Choose a name for your Twitter list, and whether you would like it to be public (so that others can follow your list) or private (a list for only you to see). Choosing a public list will also let the Twitter members you add to that list know that they are being listed, whereas they will never know if they are in a private list.

Twitter List Name and Privacy

Once you have set your list name and privacy, you can begin adding members to your list. You have the option to search for members based on their real name, username or brand on the following screen. You can add any Twitter user’s to your list, regardless of whether or not you are following them, with exception to user’s you are not following whose Tweets are private.

Search for People to Add to Twitter List

You can also add users by going to their profile and clicking on the Lists dropdown, then select the list you would like to add them to or create a new one.

Add People to Twitter List from Profile

Finding and Following Public Twitter Lists

On each Twitter user’s profile sidebar, you will see a “Listed” number next to their followers and following. Below those numbers on the sidebar, if the user has created any public lists, these will show up under the Lists heading.

Public Twitter List

Click on the Listed number to see the public lists that the user has been added to, and also the public lists that the user is following. If you click on a particular list, you will see the recent Tweets made by anyone the list is following. You can follow the list by clicking on the “Follow This List” button.

Follow a Public Twitter List

Pros and Cons of Twitter Lists

PRO: Twitter lists allow you to follow a personalized selection of Twitter members on particular topics. You could follow public lists about any topic without the use of other Twitter tools and software. And if a list on the topic you are interested in doesn’t exist, you can easily create your own customized list.

CON: Twitter members may notice a drop in following because they could being followed in lists, but not directly. For example, you could easily follow the tweets of the 20 top Twitter authorities on SEO in a list without actually following those 20 users. Some will consider this a major plus as it would help in the ratio of following to followers.

PRO: With Twitter lists, you get to learn why people are following you for by seeing where you have been listed. For example, people are adding @kikolani to lists on SEO, social media, blogging, WordPress, web development, dofollow and more.

Twitter List Topics

CON: Some members with a high follower count who haven’t been listed could get discouraged by the fact that they have not been listed very often, or they have been listed in topics they are not focusing on.

PRO: Not being listed could prove to be a learning experience that you need to change the way you use Twitter to become more of an authority on your topic.

PRO: You can use Twitter lists to find the top authorities on a subject by looking at lists created or followed by power Twitter users.

Authority Twitter List

PRO / CON: People could start going directly to their lists and not their main Twitter feed, thus missing any tweets from people they are following who haven’t been listed. While it is a great way to avoid spammers in your Twitter feed, it is also a way to miss some great tweets by people who aren’t in one of your lists.

Your Thoughts on Twitter Lists

Have you tried the Twitter List feature? What are your thoughts on the benefits vs. the downsides?

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  1. says

    Hey thanks for the info. I have been dreading getting into the nuts and bolts of the whole list thing. With five different accounts and tens of thousands of followers I had a big dark cloud over the whole thing.

    This write has inspired me to go ahead and start working with them. Thank you for the excellent write up.
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..Integrate WordPress Into Existing Site Tutorial =-.

  2. says

    I have seen this phenomenon developing and I haven’t really understood what to make of it. I am still not sure if I have formed an opinion, but my understanding of a potential value has markedly improved.
    .-= A. Zuck´s last blog ..Head Hunter =-.

  3. says

    I haven’t worked with Twitter lists yet – thanks for the info! It doesn’t look like the cons outweigh the pros, but I think my major problem with Twitter recently has been that it’s Twitter: finding the audience I need there proved to be quite a challenge, one that I’m not really up to.
    .-= ashok´s last blog ..Briefly Noted: Plato’s “Menexenus” =-.

  4. says

    A great tutorial on how to use the Twitter Lists effectively. I think your clear break down is very useful for twitter users who are not as tech-savvy and need the explanations. Also, you pros and cons gave me some ideas to how to use the lists for better promotion!
    .-= Seth W´s last blog ..Five Points to a Successful Blogging Event =-.

  5. says

    Hm, I hadn’t noticed the Lists feature. It looks like it certainly has a lot of Pros, but the Cons you mentioned are definitely valid too. Still, I have a feeling this is going to become a very popular feature. -Jason

  6. says

    I’ve been contemplating using the new features since they popped up on my twitter page. I’ve been to lazy to read what its all about so a big thanks for educating us :)
    I really like the fact that you can figure out why some people decided to follow you, its helpful to see what people see as useful.
    .-= Alan @ Glass Pipes´s last blog ..CS just died… =-.

  7. says

    You’ve listed well on the pros and cons. I agree the fact that convenience sometimes will bring some other negative effects; there’s no perfect ending in every release. ^^ However, if looking at the bright side (PROs), I’m glad Twitter has finally allow a basic feature — grouping to be installed for everyone to use (if not now, soon). Stumbled!

    Social/Blogging Tracker
    .-= Ching Ya´s last blog ..Seesmic Desktop Is Ahead of the Game with Twitter Lists Integration =-.

  8. says

    Although it adds a very interesting semantic layer over the regular Twitter, lists are going to be gamed the same way followers were in the beginning. It won’t be uncommon to see a guy with 10 followers but present in 100 lists, for instance. A new ego booster.

    From a functionality perspective, this is a major breakthrough. It transforms Twitter from a single dimension space into a virtually unlimited dimension space. You can now broadcast not only your tweets, but your own micro-twitters (your lists) which makes you even more present in the virtual space.

  9. says

    wow nice post Kristi i book mark it i already in twitter but now get more benefit from twitter now i read your post and try to implement it thanks for sharing…

  10. says

    I think Twitter had to do something to bring some order into the world of tweets. Since so many newcomers in recent month have changed the way Twitter functions, this is by no means a surprise. I hope it works wel, some won’t like it.

  11. says

    It’s a handy feature but not something that I’ve gone and done much with. I have a couple of lists on TweetDeck for my own use. I guess I like the vanity of being on a few lists and it also lets you see who people consider your ‘Twitter Colleagues’ to be!

  12. says

    I have been working with twitter for a while and have to admit results haven’t been much to write home about, the new list feature sounds interesting and thanks for the insights. I haven’t put any together yet but do see the potential in it. Will have to get started soon.
    .-= SEO wizz´s last blog ..Why Is SEO Always Free? =-.

  13. says

    I have been working with twitter for a while and have to admit results haven’t been much to write home about, the new list feature sounds interesting and thanks for the insights.

  14. says

    Building a list is pretty much going to take an awful lot of time from your already hotly busy schedule – so I would only say that building a list is only going to help you when you really do want some targeted followers on Twitter and nothing else.