Many people who are new to Twitter are unaware of lists. Actually, I should amend that. They may be aware of them but are frightened and run away from them, scared they might bite or blow up.


In fact, in a survey of Twitter’s own employees, less than half used lists! And in the New New Twitter update, they’ve moved the List function off your home page.


Regardless, lists are one of the best and most effective functions of Twitter and all ‘power users’ know this. You may not be a power user (100K followers or more) — neither am I — but lists are still your friend.



Here are my Top 10 reasons you should be using lists:


1) The number one reason to use lists: each list allows you to add up to 500 people aka tweeps. You can have up to 20 lists (public or private though I recommend public). I suck at math but even I can figure out that’s 10,000 people!


It can take up to a year to garner a following of 10,000 people (or to even follow that many), but guess what? Lists allow you to jump over that hurdle. Lists are Twitter’s worst kept secret. Why secret? Because the List button is right there out in the open yet very few people utilize them or know what to do with them.


2) Lists are a perfect way to attract followers to your stream. People are flattered you’ve added them to a list. It means you care enough to take that extra step (which takes seconds). It’s like you invited them to an exclusive party.


3) Think of lists as labels, or folders, which allow you to break down your tweeps by your interests or categories. You curate your lists; you can be as general or as specific as you’d like.


Customize your lists ideally by keywords, interests, client base, etc.


Why is this important? As you grow, your home feed becomes a big, streaming mess, virtually impossible to keep up with unless you organize somehow. The beauty is you’ll now feel more in control by reading tweets in lists only, filtering out the noise.


4) Here’s an easy link that tells you how to create a list though to be honest, Twitter makes it uber easy and the Create List tab is self-evident.


The best part about Lists is that you can list someone as you follow them. If you purge or unfollow, you can easily unlist them.


Lists are very fluid. They grow and change as your Twitter grows and changes. You may start with lists of people you connect with and six months from now you may have grown in different directions. And that’s okay. Lists are easily editable.


5) Divide and conquer. As your account grows, it becomes harder to keep up with your followers’ content. Use lists to read only the tweets of those followers who are of most interest to you.


6) Crib from others. BIG tip: as you peruse new followers, check out their lists. You can simply follow the list, which doesn’t mean you’re following all the people on the list (Twitter requires you follow people individually), but this is useful if you find the people on the list interesting and value their content for RTs.


BIG tip #2: click to the top left on members: that way you see who is on the list as opposed to the running scroll of tweets.


I do this a lot. Crib from other people’s lists – they’ve already done the work! Why not? If you have similar interests, follow the list and pick five to ten people from the list who interest you to follow individually.


Note: I don’t recommend following every person on someone’s list, or you’re just duplicating their work – in that case, just click ‘follow the entire list.’


7) Lists are editable. If your job or interests change, you can simply edit, retitle, or even delete a list. Twenty lists sounds like a lot but as your account grows into the thousands, you’ll find yourself editing and changing your lists.


8) Lists can help increase your Klout score. Klout now encourages you to list people and give K+ for listing people. The importance of Klout is still somewhat controversial but if you’re into it, they make it easy to import your lists.


9) Be creative with your list titles. I see so many ‘People who RT me’ lists. Snore. On my @RachelintheOC account, I have lists such as Awesome Redheads (you can figure that out for yourself), Charming Men (Guys: What do I have to do to get on that list? Me: Not ask), and Fab Writers (1 & 2).


10) Karma. The more you list others, the more you are listed. Twitter is all about karma. Give and you shall receive. I find that the more I pay attention to lists, the more people follow me. And it takes only minutes every day.


A good way to be found on lists is to add yourself to Listorious, the Twitter List Directory. It’s free and easy to join.


In my upcoming webinars (Basic Twitter and Advanced) I delve much deeper into lists but this should at least get you going. Twitter’s help section also gives you a basic tutorial. Just click on help and off you go.


I challenge you to start a list when you leave here today. Comment here on my blog or leave me a message at either @BadRedheadMedia or @RachelintheOC & let me know how it went. I’ll even give you a shout out!


What is your experience with lists? What are your thoughts now that you have this information?


And just a little reminder: both my #1 bestselling books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed are FREE through Sunday midnight on Amazon (no Kindle required – simply download their free apps for computer, tablet, smartphone or cloud). Also check out my friend @BenMWallace – his Dumb White Husband books are hilarious and also free.






    • Rachel says

      Thanks Maryellen — lists rock. What I love most I think is the attraction factor — people LUV to be listed. And even if they don’t know right then, at some point they’ll figure it out. Or heck, just tell em! ‘Hey, I just added you to my Kewl Peeps list!’ etc. People love that. :)

  1. says

    Rachel, I’m definitely on the list bandwagon with you. It made my Twitter life way more manageable with just a couple of hundred people I’m following (I can’t even imagine thousands without lists!)

    When I started using lists, I found that if you’re trying to do a massive amount of list editing it can be slow and tedious via Twitter. I found and it made getting started on lists much easier.

    • Rachel says

      Hi J. Kendrick and thanks for the tip. Giving twitlistmanager a try. My only difficulty is that the list titles don’t travel down the page with you, so you can’t see who which list you’re placing them into without toggling up and down (unless there’s a button for that I’m missing?). Other than that, good option. thanks for the rec!

  2. says

    I’m so glad you posted this, Rachel. I’ve been thinking about lists but never got around to it as I thought it would be too time consuming. I’m now going to work on it first chance I get! Thanks for posting this. 😀

    • Rachel says

      You’re quite welcome, Carlie. List are quite easy when you get started. People seems so intimidated by them and then are shocked when they see how easy and valuable they are. Please let me know your thoughts once you try it out yourself.

  3. says

    Rachel, thanks for taking me from that “What’s a List? Guy” to “List Creator.” (today’s task)
    But, why are you so clear and understandable? I only had to read your post once. And, do I need a list for “Bad Redheads” if I only know one? Peace.

    • Rachel says

      Love it! Now that’s what I want to hear. Of course, I love the compliments, too (hehe) but it’s really not rocket science. That’s my Twitter mantra from the beginning. It’s just a matter of clicking around and figuring stuff out. I’d love to be the one and only BadRedhead on the list. Rock on, Mike.

  4. says

    Whew, Rachel, (and I thank you for this great post) . . . I’m not alone in my lack of List knowledge and importance. I thank you for dispelling unknown angst or laziness on my part. Yes, I am a lazy guy some of the time . . . must go walk Zippy and Kipling.

    • Rachel says

      Thank you Justin. You’re not lazy. You’re like most Twitter folks, I think. Just…unaware. I find lists kinda addicting. I hoe you do too. :)

    • Rachel says

      Thanks for your comment, BK. Lists are so easy & it’s just an extra click. I find them easier to do on my mobile for some reason. :)

  5. says

    Long overdue comment, but fantastic post! I created a few lists of my own the day I read this, and am taking your advice on subscribing/following others from their lists. Fun times. Thanks!

    • Rachel says

      Thanks hottie. I’m so glad to hear you’ve embraced lists — #woot! Too awesome. Let me know how it goes for you. xo

    • Rachel says

      You are quite welcome. A friend just commented today that she started using them and had about 1K new followers in the past few weeks! Awesome.

  6. Miguel Lorente says

    I am reluctant to follow because I find impossible manage a huge Timeline. I do not understand how people can follow 10.000 or more, and think they are not really “following” (reading). So, I use lists for people I DO NOT FOLLOW. Is it a great mistake? Besides I have observed that lists give you a selection, not all the tweets of the people in the lists.

    • Rachel says

      Hi Miguel and thanks for your comment. I myself have a large (over 10K) following so I use lists to manage specific categories of folks: writers, bloggers, social media, etc. I respond to practically all @mentions and DMs. But the beauty of Twitter, and lists for that matter, is that you are your own curator. If your system works for you, great.

      We all have 20 lists for up to 10K people. I myself prefer to follow those who I want to interact with but that’s my choice. As for a selection, that’s not been my experience. Perhaps it’s how you view it? I don’t know. I’ll research further. Thanks for bringing that up. :)

  7. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this information, Rachel! I’ve seen comments on lists, and been added to lists, but never understood what they were all about or how beneficial they might be. Having the ability to organize everything as you discuss in this post is hugely appealing! And you make it all sound easy enough that I think even I can do it :) I now know what I’ll be looking into setting up over the next week.

  8. says

    Great article Rachel! I’ve decided to take twitter a bit more seriously so I’ve been Googling like mad for tips! Your blogs (amongst) others have stood out and they have been really helpful. Thank You. I’m going to make a start on my lists right away!

    Nice to meet you.



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