How I keep up with ALL THE TWEETS


I follow more than 7,000 people on Twitter so one of the questions I often encounter is “how do you keep up with so many Twitter connections?”

The quick answer is: I don’t.

When you’ve got a large Twitter network it’s important to give away the notion of ‘catching up’ on tweets and to focus instead on those types of accounts and conversations which matter more to you than others.

Keeping up with thousands of tweets ...
Keeping up with thousands of tweets …

And the key thing that helps me with this is Twitter Lists.

If Twitter didn’t enable me to categorise people and place their Twitter accounts onto a list, I think I’d be lost.

I’ve written about this previously in Twitter not working for you? and 6 Ways to Find Who to Follow on Twitter.

To give you an example: I have a Friends List on Twitter which helps me quickly tap into what my friends have been tweeting. It’s the first social media account I check every day. Other Twitter Lists I have include clients, media, politicians and some client target categories. Some of these lists are public because I’m happy to do some of the work, curate the list and have others follow it. Other lists are private to protect my work and also to avoid letting people know how I’ve categorised them.

When Twitter Lists first came out, I blogged about how very serious our lists were. (That hasn’t changed and I’ve pretty much abandoned my Earwig Haters list).

One of my newer lists revolves around fans of the Port Adelaide Football Club. I periodically look at #weareportadelaide tweets and add fans to that list. For me, it’s a great list to dip into to chat with fans and read their thoughts on the current match.

In it’s easy to add people to a list.

Simply head to a Twitter account profile and hover over the interactive icon to see your options, including ‘add or remove from lists’ as per the image below:

Hover over the interactive icon to see your options, including 'add or remove from lists'
Hover over the interactive icon to see your options, including ‘add or remove from lists’

If you don’t have any Lists yet, this will also prompt you to create a list. You can choose to have a public list or a private list. Think carefully about your choice.

You can also follow the Twitter Lists created by others. Head to a Twitter account’s profile page to see their Lists, as per the ABC News example below:

ABC News on Twitter
ABC News on Twitter

In the image below, you can see the ‘press gallery’ list that ABC News created. Hit the Subscribe button to follow that List. This doesn’t mean you’re following all accounts in that list and that they’ll join your newsfeed. You’re subscribing to that List only, and you need to visit your Lists to read those tweets.

Sample of an ABC News-created Twitter List
Sample of an ABC News-created Twitter List

Depending on the Twitter tool you used, your Lists will be available to check there. I use Echofon on my iPhone and iPad and my lists are easily viewable.

Here’s one more groovy thing about Twitter Lists: you can add a Twitter account to a List without following it.

This can be particularly handy when you want to monitor a Twitter account but 1) you don’t want to be seen to endorse that account, for example if it’s a political account and 2) you don’t want to give that Twitter account the value of an additional follow. It may be a competitor, for example.

So, Lists save my bacon when it comes to keeping up with Twitter. Without them, following thousands of accounts would be very clunky indeed.

I provide Twitter 101 For Business training and also personal social media coaching. Email admin @ to make an enquiry.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Great article Prakky. I’m using Twitter lists more and more these days – they’re a great way to cut through all the crap and make sure you can focus on whatever you need to at the time. I have different lists for work but haven’t thought about creating one for my friends – I might just do that now!

    1. Prakky says:

      Great to hear, Kalista! Enjoy your new Friends list.

  2. nirbhayasindia says:

    Hi what’s your twitter id? Let me follow you for a change! Any idea how to identify who’s not following back and then unfollow them? Am new to twitter, but can’t seem to EASILY identify who all are not following me back

    1. Prakky says:

      I’m on Twitter as @prakky

      There’s lots of sites to help you find who’s following you/not following back. These include and and but it’s best to test these yourself and find the one that best suits. These types of sites can also ‘come and go’ so keep an eye on that.

  3. Ric says:

    Hmm … I suspect I might have been on the Earwig Haters List 🙂

    I discovered lists early, and they’ve just got more useful (while not at stratospheric levels of following, “keeping up” is not really an option). I’ve also split into multiple Twitter personæ to keep a different emphasis on different groups of people (it’s mainly a “profession” type of thing).

  4. I know I’m on the earwig hater list!

    S’funny, this “question you get asked a lot” is a question I asked you about a week ago. Have I been inspiring your blog topics again? 🙂

    I played with lists when they started but never got into it. Instead, like Ric, I have different Twitter accounts for my separate businesses and one for just me (and Kong) and try not to follow anyone on each account that doesn’t specifically belong there.

    But that’s because I tend to get a bit “inappropriate” sometimes on my personal account and try to keep it as far away from my business contacts as possible. 😉

    1. Prakky says:

      Hey Derek, you definitely prompted me to write the blog: you could say your question was the tipping point, after many ‘students’ in my social media classes asked the question.

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