Once again I am giving props to Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza). I happened upon another chat that Joe guest moderated. This one is #nt2t (New Teachers to Twitter). While I don’t consider myself a newbie on Twitter any more, I do consider it my obligation to help those that are. I started by lurking (like I do whenever I think about joining a new chat). Then the questions about Twitter Lists started. I had just had this conversation with a colleague earlier this week, so I felt I was caught up on the topic.
If you are truly new to twitter, I suggest going to Joe’s website and taking the free e-course he has created. You can find it here.
Why create a Twitter List?
Twitter lists are used to narrow the scope of your feed. If you only want to focus on a particular group of those you follow, Twitter Lists are perfect. You can choose a list and see only the tweets from the people on that list. You can thank of it as looking at a specific section of the newspaper. If you are a sports fan, then you generally go to that section first. Twitter Lists allow you to separate the people you follow into groups to make Twitter easier for you. Twitter lists can be either public or private.
Public lists are available to the world. You are publishing your “section of the newspaper” for others to follow. Subscribers can see those you put into your list without having to follow the accounts themselves. As you add to the list, the amount of tweets the subscribers see grows. This is very useful if you have curated a list of accounts you want to share with your students or other teachers.
Private lists are only available to you. Others can’t see the list. This can be useful if you have a reason to keep the group separate from the “world wide web”. I use private lists with my students’ accounts. I can follow them easily because I have them grouped together but I don’t become a conduit to those accounts because the list is private.
Where do I find Twitter Lists?
You must choose someone already on Twitter to see their lists. You will only be able to see their public lists.
Here is a shot of my lists. You can see the ones I own have my picture next to it. The last group was created by Drew Frank (@ugafrank). It is a list of participants from a virtual Edcamp that I participated in January.
Some of my lists are private. BHS_Students, for example, is a closed list. That means I am the only one that can use that list. Others are public. FLedChat, for example, is a public list. I started it by adding people that have contributed to the Florida Educators’ Chat (Wednesday, 8pm, #FLedChat). It is a small list, because I haven’t added to it recently (something I really must tend to soon). It also has 3 subscribers. These subscribers don’t actually have to follow every member of the list. Subscribers can follow the tweets (remember all tweets are public) until they are comfortable following the accounts themselves.
Please be aware that lists are not all encompassing. There is no way I (or anyone else) can find all the people that might fit the list description. There are millions of wonderful people on Twitter. Just because you are or aren’t on a list really is immaterial. The list is an organizational tool. To attribute ill will or exclusionary characteristics to a list or list owner is unwise.
Twitter lists are an important tool for organizing your Twitter feed. I encourage you to utilize them. A newspaper with only one section isn’t really useful. When you create sections and categorize the articles, the subscriber finds much more value in the subscription. Twitter lists are your sections. How will you group your feed?