What's a Twitter List and How Do I Use it? - Steph Nissen

What’s a Twitter List and How Should I Use It?

If you’re here you’ve been asking the question “What’s a Twitter list?” or “What do I need Twitter lists for?” – And lucky you, I can help with that. Honestly, I think Twitter lists make Twitter worth using!

What is a Twitter List?

Right from Twitter HQ a Twitter list is:

A list is a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the accounts on that list.

The simplified version is that Twitter lists organize your Twitter followers. You pick and choose who belongs on which list based on any number of criteria. For example a few of the Twitter lists I use are:

  • Clients
  • Prospects
  • Affiliates
  • Partners
  • Influencers

I also create lists for events and conferences I attend, local meet-up groups, and to organize people by profession. For example, you can create a list of all the life coaches you know and put all the fitness coaches you know on a different list. This creates multiple streams of tweets that are organized typically by one unifying factor.

But Why Put People on a Twitter List?

Each time you put someone on a Twitter list, it could be for a different reason. You can do so to monitor tweets to find content to post yourself or to make sure you regularly engage with certain accounts.

If I create a list of competitors, I’ll want to only use this list to monitor them. These are not accounts I want to engage with.

If I create a list of prospects, I’ll want to engage with them by replying to their tweets, retweeting as appropriate, and liking regularly. I want to show up in their notifications constantly to remain top of mind.

Using a list on Twitter keeps you organized! The twitter stream moves too fast for you to be able to see the tweets from the people that matter most to you all the time. In fact:

[clickToTweet tweet=”The average lifespan of a tweet is only 18 minutes! according to @Moz!” quote=”The average lifespan of a single tweet is only 18 minutes according to the folks at Moz!”]

How Do I Make a Twitter List?

This is how you create a Twitter list if you are on your iOS device:

  1. From the Me tab, click on the Gear icon at the top of the page.
  2. Select “View Lists” from the drop down menu.
  3. In the top right corner, click on the plus sign (+).
  4. Add a name and description for your list.
  5. Choose whether you want your list public or private.
  6. Hit save.

To create a Twitter list from an Android device:

  1. Tap on the overflow icon and then select View Lists.
  2. Tap the plus icon to create a new list.
  3. Select a name for your list, and a short description of the list.
  4. Choose if you want to make the list public or private.
  5. Tap Save.

To create a list from a desktop or laptop:

  1. Click on your profile icon to show the drop down menu.
  2. Click on Lists.
  3. Click Create new list.
  4. Select a name for your list, and a short description of the list.
  5. Click Save list.

To add and remove people from your lists:

  1. When you’re creating a list, you will be prompted to start adding people immediately. You can then enter the username or full name of anyone you want to add and then select them from the dropdown by clicking on their name.
  2. To remove a person, click the “x” by their name.
  3. When you’re finished, click “Done.”
  4. You can also add people directly from their profile by clicking on the Gear icon on their page and selecting “Add/Remove From Lists.” Click on the lists in the dropdown menu that you want to add or remove them from and hit “Done” when finished.

What Twitter Lists Should I Create?

These are the types of Twitter lists that I use for myself or my small business social media clients:

  • Current Customers
  • Past Customers
  • Prospective Customers
  • Competitors
  • Local Community
  • Influencers
  • Partners
  • Affiliates
  • People Who Retweet Me
  • Event Attendees
  • Resources
  • Supporters
  • Friends and Family
  • Employees
  • Twitter Chat Participants


Are you using Twitter lists? What’s your strategy for them? I’d love to hear how you’re using Twitter lists in the comments.

About Steph Nissen

Steph Nissen is a speaker and digital operations strategist. She is one of the Owners and Head of Digital Operations at Atomic Revenue, a revenue operations firm serving B2B companies nationwide. She's a self-proclaimed social media junkie (in the best way!) and is passionate about helping businesses thrive in the digital space. She's a proud Mompreneur to two amazing kiddos and a highly competitive board gamer!

10 thoughts on “What’s a Twitter List and How Should I Use It?

    1. Hi Joy! There’s no simple way to remove yourself but your options include asking the user to remove you from the list and one workaround I have not used personally but heard from others works is to go to the profile of the person who created the list, block them for a few seconds, and then unblock them. I’d love to hear if that works for you!

    1. Hi Ida, if your Twitter list is public, then yes. The accounts you add will be notified. If you create a private list, no notifications are sent out and no one can view the list but you.

  1. Just wanted to say thanks. This was really helpful. I cringe when I hear Twitter because I’ve never taken the time to understand it. I’m loving the lists aspect. So thanks for breaking it down for us.

  2. This is great. I’ve had a hard time understanding how to “follow” in the most effective way. These instructions are a huge time saver. Thank you!

  3. I was interested in knowing how to remove myself from a list created by someone who made up a list of people that they want publicly harassed. My pleas to Twitter were passing through deaf ears because they claimed the person did nothing to violate Twitter’s policies, but I begged to differ. Even the name of the person’s list showed it was a defamatory list created to inform people that my beliefs were subject to ridicule and scrutiny. When the person put my name on this list, he then blocked me, which makes it impossible to request to be removed. I object to having my Twitter name being placed on a list without my permission for any reason. I want my name off this list, but Twitter will not do anything to protect my privacy. Is there anything I can legally do?

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