Are you drowning in tweets?

In the beginning, when you’re following 50+ people (which isn’t a lot), it’s tempting to read every single tweet that comes in to your stream. You feel obliged to, just as you would read every email in your inbox. There’s so much good stuff being shared you don’t want to miss it!

Overwhelmed Twitter bird

And this good stuff is jumbled in with the not so important tweets – things that you have no real interest in. But you want to keep following because:

(a) that person is your friend
(b) they send other useful tweets
(c) you want to keep up with them for a valid reason only known to you
(d) they’re following you

By the way, (d) is not a valid reason to following someone on Twitter, especially if you have no interest in them and they tweet nonsense. Go on, unfollow.

The good news is with regular use the overwhelm subsides. You realise you can’t read everything, it’s unrealistic and stressful. You let it go, follow more people, get in to skim reading your stream, but inevitably miss important updates. So what’s the answer?

Activate the Twitter filter feature!

The best way to filter your Twitter stream is with Twitter lists. You can add profiles into categorised lists created and organised by you. These can be public (everyone can see and follow the list), or private (only you know the list exists). Important: You don’t even have to be following someone to add them to your lists so you could keep tabs on someone without them knowing or choking up your stream. Handy. And, yes I admit a bit sneaky too. 😉

Lists also make pinpointing users or information on a particular topic really quick and easy saving valuable time and helping you keep your use productive and focussed.

Here are some creative ideas for lists

I’ve got resource lists, friend lists, client lists, VIP lists, event lists with attendees of conferences, mastermind lists, even seasonal lists which become my focus at certain times of the year but serve no interest the rest of the time. (For example, each July I turn in to a crazed Tour de France fan. My TDF list feeds my habit for one month without clogging up my stream the rest of the year).

So now you’ve got some ideas to chew on, how about putting some lists of your own into action? Remember, if you want to be keep your eye on the Twitter gold and build a great community you’ll want to get your stream organised. You can find your list options on your profile and home page.