Lists. I love lists. I love lists and I love Twitter. What this means is that, you guessed it – I love Twitter Lists.

There are a few types of lists. The kind where you write down what you want to achieve and then have the amazingly simple satisfaction of ‘marking one off’ once you’ve accomplished it.

There are several online versions for ‘to do’ lists, which I find less satisfying than pen & paper, however, that’s for a separate blog post. Maybe a guest post from iamjohnstok.com

Twitter lists. Twitter lists are what I want to call a best kept secret, but they aren’t secret. They are there, begging to be used, however from recent experiences explaining them to others, it’s not as straightforward as one might believe.

This has inspired me to (finally!) write an overview of Twitter lists – the basics, top tips and how to use them effectively through a series of Q&A.

Do I have to be following the person to add them to a list?
Nope! This is one of the great aspects of Twitter Lists. You can add people to a list that you don’t want filling your normal feed. For example: Clients, contacts, competitors or even someone you might just fancy. Now if you have an entire list dedicated to, as one friend used to say ‘prospects’ (sexual or romantic), then I might worry.

Can I DM people I follow on a list?
No. You give up this privilege when you simply add someone to a list. But remember – if they follow YOU, you can still DM them.

I follow too many people!
There is always one reason or another thought that you can’t ‘unfollow’ some people. My advice here, and what I actively do, is create a ‘Private’ list, called something like ‘Core’. Then move your key tweeps to this list. I following about 1500 people. I have a core list that is maybe 250 people. Does that mean I ignore everyone else no, but if I’m in a rush, I can skim the list and hopefully pick up key tweets. However, any other time, I do read my full list – especially when I’m using my phone or sitting in front of the tv.

I need help organising my followers, like Google Circles.
The best way to organise your followers is to create multiple lists and add them to accordingly. Then use an app such as Tweetdeck (my preferred app at the moment) to  follow them.

Go to your Twitter profile, click on Lists – then choose ‘create a list’. From here you can add anyone you wish, weather you follow them or not. Simply title your list – something like ‘Colleagues’ or your company name if you want others to be able to follow the list. Then write a brief description about what the list is for and save. You can now easily click on each list and follow what the people on that particular list are up to.

I want to be added to someone’s list.
Just tweet them & ask to be added!

How do I create a list?
As previously stated, just sign into Twitter,  go to your profile, click ‘lists’ at the top of the Twitter stream and then choose ‘create a list’.

If I follow a list will other people be able to see it?
If you follow someone else’s list, yes other people will be able to see it. At the moment, you aren’t able to share private lists with other people (this, in my opinion, would be very useful especially for the workplace).

Can my list be private, so people don’t know they’re on it?
Yes. If you want to follow people and for any reason, you don’t want others to know the list exists – you can keep the list as private. When you create the new list, simply tick the private box.

This might be because you are following loads of celebrities and you’re embarrassed; you could be stalking competitors or even have a list of clients or potential clients and you don’t want others to see – however you want to keep an eye on their feed or make sure you’re up to date with them.

What do you do Darcie?
I’ve pretty much explained it so far, but basically I love lists. I have created lists for various reasons, such as the Edinburgh Coffee Morning: #EdCM. This way all (up to 150) attendee’s can  follow a list and easily have conversations with one another. This helps meet new people, find those who you have met, but maybe didn’t catch their name/Twitter handle – or keep up with the Twitterati of Edinburgh.

I also have lists created to make sure I can see what my colleagues are up to – what interesting industry news they tweet or their own blog posts etc. I have a strong view on people in the work place communicating on Twitter and how it probably helps strengthen relationships amongst employees and colleagues – but that’s for another post!

I keep a ‘Core’ list, for when I’m on the go. this is the main list in my Tweetdeck set up. I have the the ‘Core List, followed by a column of all the people I follow, then @replies, then those I follow through @DarcieT, then @replies to that account, followed by DM’s, then the LBi/Bigmouthmedia list and my EdCM list.

I hope that covered most of the questions surrounding Twitter lists – if you have anything specific you are curious about, just ask in the comments below!