There are a lot of twitter list tools out there (see links below) but today’s post will focus on the basics of Twitter List Management, how to create, edit, and use twitter lists. For some of you who’ve already created a twitter list and know how to add/remove people skip down to the Advanced tools section.

Why Twitter List Management?

There is only so much data one can consume in a day. With twitter there are reasons you may need or want to follow accounts that you don’t actually want to read their content on a regular basis. You really have two options, ignore the content they are posting, or add everyone else to a list and just watch that list.

Essentially twitter lists help you to curate content and consume it when you want to. If you were interested in travel deals you could create a travel-deals list and put all the discount travel twitter accounts into it. Or if you want to find spiritual inspiration you could create a list for that and put pastors, theologians, thinkers, and other spiritual leaders into it.

Other types of twitter lists (they are endless):

  • friends you know or have met in real life
  • customers/clients/audience/ etc.
  • family
  • co-workers (can spy on them)
  • news/media (always nice to have to find out what’s going on)
  • local people
  • famous people (in your sphere, or in social media, or in traditional media, or musicians etc)
  • funny  accounts (lolcats and more)
Like I said, the possibilities are endless, but this is just a start to get your own twitter list management strategy rolling.

Do I have to follow someone to add them to a list?

Simple answer: no. You can add anyone to a list and keep them from ever showing up in your main twitter timeline.  (There are longer more drawn out answers to this question that refer to twitter follow building strategy and more)

Do they get notified when I add them to a list?

Simple answer: That depends. You have the option of making the list public or private. For example you may have a friends list as public, but a “people I’m spying on” list as private.  Lists that are private are just that, only you know what the list name is, the description and how is in the list. No one else (except the employees of twitter of course, and any application you’ve given permission to your account) can see this information on a private list.

If it’s a public list, users can get notified via tools if they’ve been added to a list. Or anyone can click on the list to see who is in the list. Users can also see which lists an account has been added to. This calls for pictures and examples:

How to see who is in a list:

First you have to find a list… view any user (in this case @cspenn) and notice the tabs right above the first tweet:

See the “Lists” section to the right? click on that to reveal the public lists this user has created:

Fun set of lists eh? My favorite is the sent-me-dm-spam… Anyways, click on one of those list links to view the curated content of that list, I went with the first one, and the URL looks like:!/cspenn/replied you can now see the curated content of @cspenn in his replied list. Note the top gives you some interesting information:

At the time of this post, there were 17 users listed in the “replied” list for @cspenn, and one person is subscribed to the list (yes you can follow lists which means you are not following each of the 17 people in this list but you will get their content in your timeline because you are following a list they are in…. )

To see who is in this replied list click on the “Following: 17” tab.  which brings you to this URL:!/cspenn/replied/members


And thats how you can see who is in a list (any public list)

How to see what twitter lists a user is in?

This is actually more simple. Click to a user, (Still picking on @cspenn here) find their stats area in the top of the right hand column:

You’ll see that as of this writing Christopher has been added to 2,758 Public lists. (yup that’s right, private lists are private and are not counted in this number) Click on that number to see the 2,758 lists.

So there you have it, via the web you can see lists, see who are in a given list, see the content in a given list and see where a given user is listed.

But How do I create a twitter list?

Simple, sign into twitter, find the lists tab (just above your timeline) click on it and then choose “create a list”

From the resulting window you can fill in the name, description and choose if it’s to be public or private.

Ok but how do I add a user to a Twitter list?

Go to a user’s  profile, and find the little man button.

Click on it

Choose “Add to list”


Remember you don’t have to be following a user to add them to a list.

And that’s the basics of twitter list management via the web.


What about twitter lists on my iPhone/Andrioid App?

  • From your home timeline, click the three-dot … icon on lower right hand side of your screen (hint: it’s next to the magnifying glass icon.)
  • Clicking on that icon will bring you to a menu that includes, down at the bottom, all of the lists you’ve created and the lists you’re following. You can add a new list right here.
  • Or, once you’ve clicked on a list you can then touch the icon in the lower right hand corner of your screen to bring up a list of options such as sharing, editing, or deleting the list. Win!

Advanced tools for Twitter List Management

I have some lists which I manage manually and some which I manages using these tools, it just depends on the needs, but I have to admit I find Formulists to be the best twitter list management tool out there: