One of the challenges as you get going with these sites, however, is the massive amount of information that starts coming at you. If you are like me, you follow/friend people for a number of reasons. When everyone's information is jumbled together, it is hard to focus and build relationships (that is one of the main reasons for the sites after all — building relationships) or gather knowledge.
One great way to cut through the clutter and stay focused is to use the lists function. Both Twitter and Facebook give you the option to “list” your connections. Today I'll share more about why you may want to do that as well as share some thoughts from my friends on Twitter.
What is a Twitter List or Facebook List Anyway?
Think of lists as a way to categorize your contacts for easier retrieval and conversation. I have written before about how your brain can process faster when you are able to group like activities together. Lists help you do that!
By grouping the same type of information, say Tweets about organizing, you are able to focus on one topic at a time.
Small word of caution: This is not 100% exact. The people that you connect with will update their status on with what ever topic they want. For example, I send messages on organization and productivity, but I occasionally will send updates on gratitude or something that happened to me that day.
The more people you are connected to, the more valuable the list function becomes.
Examples of How People Use Lists on Twitter
I asked my friends on Twitter to share how they use lists and this is what they shared:
deshane@StephCalahan I use TLs for others to find ppl worth following on topics like #animalrights #veganism & #glbt–ppl that might've got lost.. in the enormous shuffle that is Twttrverse..also I'm ADD so I need some organization 2 tweeps I follow or I lose them myself!
RebeccaQuinn@StephCalahan Local peeps, IRL peeps, friends, various niche peeps, other cities peeps, events, news, places to go like restaurants…Use to cut down noise, to stay informed, find peeps to RT, for #FF, to get ideas on things to write about, breaking news.
TravelinPassion@StephCalahan Hi Steph! I just created some, you get 20, and I use them just to sort messages. It helps! Wish I had created them in alphabetical order though, I don't think you can ‘organize' them afterwards.
Getting Started Using Lists
Twitter allows you to have up to 20 Lists. If you are on Twitter and are not using lists –> http://support.twitter.com/articles/76460-how-to-use-twitter-lists will get you going right away. Twitter allows you to make your lists public or private. I have some of each. Public means that others can follow the list and learn from the people you have found. Private means that only you can see the people on the list. You are limited to 500 people in each list.
Facebook allows you to have up to 100 Lists. If you are on Facebook and are not using lists –> http://www.facebook.com/#!/help/?search=lists will give you what you need to get them set up. Facebook only has private listing at this point and I'd assume that it would stay that way because of how the site's privacy settings are set up.
How I Use Lists
I'm now connected to thousands of people on my social networking sites, so lists are key to me being able to manage the conversations. I started by making sure that the categories topics/lists that I had matched between the two platforms. This allows me to not have to remember two different systems.
Yes, it does take some time to set up your lists, but I have found that it saves me an immense amount of time daily when I go onto my sites. If you don't have lists set up today, I encourage you to consider it. How do you use Lists on Facebook or Twitter? Share your comment below.
To your success!