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How to Beat Twitter List Rot!

Twitter lists and ListlyIf you’ve used Twitter for any amount of time, you’ll have experienced a great deal of frustration With Twitter lists. Twitter lists arrived late 2009, and even I was excited to see them, however they soon became near impossible to manage due to time constraints (who wants to spend a day creating a Twitter list?) or limited by the amount of people you can have on them.

So like a lot of people I just started ignoring them, or following other people’s lists, after all I don’t want their hard work to go to waste ;)

The thing with lists, whether they are email, a Facebook custom or a Twitter list is if it’s not used then list rot will set in. Nick Kellet from List.ly describes list rot as the decaying value of the list, and that’s an accurate description.

When it’s you’re own email list you prune it and remove the people who don’t open the emails (and if you don’t, you should – you’re paying for people not to read you – and that’s not good). The same with your other social lists, they grow and contract accordingly, but not your Twitter lists. They’re sitting there doing nothing and are of no use to man nor beast.

Why would you want a Twitter list in the first place?

Twitter lists are a simple yet effective tool to keep an eye on a group of Twitter users without actually having to follow them. They are quickly set-up and once you have them in place, easy to monitor.

To set up a list go into Twitter, login and on your main page you’ll see a cog at the top of the page.

Twitter Lists 1

Click lists in the drop down menu after clicking the cog.

Twitter list 2


The next screen will show you any existing lists that you have, and how many people in each list. As you can see Formulists have not updated my lists for a while, so they are no longer dynamic conversation starters, just clutter on my lists page.

Click the create new list button to start your list.

Twitter list 3


Creating a new list is simple, you just add the list name (cannot have more than 25 characters or start with a number), a description and then decide if it’s public and everyone can see the list or its private and only you can see the list.


Twitter list 4


Private lists are handy for monitoring your competition, listing your clients and people that inspire and motivate you. Public lists can be keeping an eye of active Twitter users (but not having your main stream filled with their content), groups that you’re in, people you’ve met at an event, geographic locations and of course your subscribers and blog followers.

You cannot add anyone who’s blocked you to a Twitter list, and you can remove yourself from a list by blocking the list creator (which might just be a pain).

When you’ve created your list just click save and you’re done.

To see what lists you’ve been added to scroll up to the top of the lists section and click “member of”.

twitter list 5


This shows you all the lists you’ve been added too and by whom.

You’re smart, I know you’re starting to see how powerful this can be in terms of interaction and keeping up with the people you need to. It can shave hours off of Twitter management,  and you can keep it to a reasonable 15 minutes a day, when you have all the tools in place.

So what do you do when you have a powerful tool, yet it’s not performing correctly?

You give it a tune up and you get some outside help, and in the case of Twitter lists, Nick Kellet of List.ly has taken the problem and created a solution with the rather fabulous List.ly.

Side note here —-> If you are en email subscriber you would’ve been one of the first people to discover List.ly as I share all these awesome tools with my subscribers first, you’ll also have discovered Slideshare before everyone else, Bufferapp and a whole heap of other useful tools (and the one I’m sharing next week is frickin’ awesome) you really should take the time to subscribe. <—- side note ends.

Twitter lists can now be imported into List.ly

But haven’t we been here before with Twitter lists? Haven’t other companies tried (and failed) to do something with Twitter lists?

  • Remember Formulist? Gone!
  • Listorious? Rolled back into Muckrack
  • Twellow? Does anyone still add their details to Twellow?
  • Twibes? Hmm, no recent activity on their home page, is anyone home?

What does this mean for us, the user?

Twitter lists when imported into List.ly are searchable, they’re embeddable, and they’re collaborative.

Go and join List.ly if you haven’t already, you can join using your Twitter account, so it’s fast and painless. Have a wander around the site and take a good look at all the functionality and then go and start a list.

Twitter list 6


As you can see You can choose the list type, in the image above I’ve chosen Twitter List. I’m then invited to import or sync my existing Twitter lists into List.ly. See, it’s incredibly easy and now much more manageable.

And what’s more you’ll now get found if you are added to a list.ly as they lists are not only searchable for human being but seach engines like them a lot too.

Not only that, if you want, other people can add to your list.

You can invite them or let them know they are welcome to add to the List.ly when you’ve embedded it.  A conference is a great example of the Twitter list using List.ly.

Often conferences have a hashtag that people (even those that don’t attend) follow and share. Add the people actively Tweeting and ReTweeting at a conference to your list. Share the list using the conference hashtag and ask others to add to the list. You’ll connect with a lot more people and the list is now an incredible resource.

The same for Geographic lists, use the location hashtag and actively invite people to add to the list.

And here’s where it gets really cool – you can embed these lists into web pages and blog posts.

If you have a page or post on your website you can direct people back to that spot to add people into the Twitter List.ly. You can also embed someone else’s list into your website. So even if you’ve not started a list, you can easily use and grow someone else’s list (so long as you keep to the same criteria of course) and encourage other people to add to the list.

You can also vote members of the lists up and down (which makes List.ly an awesome tool for competitions).

This is understandably a premium feature of List.ly but don’t let that put you off of using the tool, it’s an excellent investment, after all it’s not only making your business on Twitter more manageable but saving you a lot of time.

List.ly and WordPress

If you have a WordPress blog there is a List.ly plugin which makes adding lists to blog posts or pages very easy. You can add your lists to pages and keep them hidden if you prefer, or you can add them to a blog post and invite your readers to join in. It certainly makes your content more interactive!

Let me know what you think and if you have a Twitter list post, feel free to add it to the list below :)


Twitter List Blog Posts

Why Twitter Lists Work : 100+ blog posts

Nick Kellet Nick Kellet
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Why Twitter Lists Work : 100+ blog posts

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Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow started blogging to save a business and it worked! She created her first blogging challenge back in 2007. She's been internationally recognised as a top content marketer, Forbes and MSN list her websites as top ones, and she's the author of many quick start marketing guides. You can find her books on Amazon.

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