Remember Twitter Lists?

When Twitter first announced that they would be rolling out a new feature called “lists” back in 2009, I admit I was excited. The very idea of being able to create custom lists and lump specific accounts that I follow into those seemed like a great idea. In fact, for the first couple months after the initial roll out, I was using them like crazy.

When this was happening, I believe I was following 100 or less accounts on Twitter. Now as of March 2011 it’s closer to 400 hand-picked accounts. These of course are all great people and it’s taken some time to find them all.

The novelty and usefulness of the feature wore off pretty quickly and I soon abandoned it all together. This month though, I have started using lists again pretty heavily and I’m actually enjoying it. Hear me out and allow me elaborate.

Since I now follow more than three times the amount of Twitter accounts than two years prior, I’m starting to see how useful lists can be.

What I did today

I painstakingly went through my entire list of accounts that I follow and added each person to a list that made sense. Here are some examples:

  • Developers were lumped into a “developers” list.
  • UI designers and anyone working with pixels were lumped into a “pixel-pushers” list.
  • Friends of mine were lumped into a “friends” list.
  • Accounts that publish links piped directly from RSS (like Daring Fireball) are lumped into “RSS feeds” list.
  • My favourite curated list of great iOS, Mac, and web apps are lumped into a “top apps” list.
  • Favourite “Tweeters” are lumped into a “Top tweeters” list.

I think you can see the trend here…

I now tend to spend less time going through (what I consider) a very busy “home” timeline and spend more time in just the @ reply timeline and lists timeline.

How I divvy up my reading time on Twitter

  • 70% spent in the lists timeline
  • 20% spent in the @ replies timeline
  • 10% spent in the home timeline


By keeping carefully curated (yes I know, that work again) lists, I don’t miss what I think are the most important (or potentially important) tweets.

If you want to peruse my current lists, you can check them out here.