Connecting for Nature

Keeping Yorkshire folk in touch with their local biodiversity news

Twitter lists – are they useful?

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Profile for @CarrsWetland, showing where to access Twitter Lists. It's a little different on the app for mobile devices, but easily found.

Profile for @CarrsWetland, showing where to access Twitter Lists.

I don’t hear much about people using the ‘lists’ function on Twitter. If you use Twitter have you explored the potential uses of Lists? Lists are accessed beneath your twitter profile. It’s a little different on the app for mobile devices, but easily found.

The basic idea is that you can collate some of the myriad accounts you follow by creating lists – and it’s entirely up to you how you group them and what the list is called. Then by navigating to the list you may either see a filtered feed of the tweets from that select bunch of accounts, (click on ‘Tweets’), view the ‘List Members’ or indeed see if any ‘Subscribers’ have taken an interest in the list you created.

On this part screen grab, see how my list of 'nature' tweeters can show me their collected Tweets, the List Members (108 in this case) or Subscribers

On this screen grab, my list of ‘nature’ tweeters can show me their collected Tweets, the List Members or List Subscribers

Here for instance is one of mine called Nature, created a while ago. You will see it has 108 members – these are accounts I chose to add to my Nature list. (You can do this by the way by clicking the settings drop down beside any user profile and selecting ‘Add or remove from lists’ then you either nominate an existing list you have set up previously or create a new list.)

Another feature of Twitter Lists allows one to ‘subscribe’ to other users’ already curated lists – provided they elected for them to be public. (You may make your list private – ie visible only to you.) Subscribing to someone else’s lists can easily safe a lot of effort ‘finding’ accounts for a specific geographical area, topic, interest etc. Of course if that user is actively maintaining their list then the subscribers also get the benefit of the new additions.
It’s fascinating to see how some people view and value your contributions to the Twittersphere. To this end you can even check for lists you have been made a ‘member of’ – that is when someone else has put you into a specific category of their choosing. For instance I have discovered that, as @CarrsWetland I’m in 64 twitter lists, at least since those are public ones, on topics diverse as wildlife, Yorkshire and science to social media and educators. Nice to know I suppose. I notice that some local businesses will just add anyone who is evidently in their geographical patch, or an organization might add everyone to a list who uses a discussion forum hashtag, such as #UKEdChat – one for teachers and educators.
So do you use Twitter lists? What do you use them for? Do you scour other people’s lists for new users to follow, who share your interests or tweet about a cause close to your heart? Personally I had a big splurge on lists a couple of years ago and tried to resolve the accounts I followed into distinct areas of interest – handy if you have niche passions, like Star Trek, Mosses & Liverworts and Crochet…but it may be that for all of us Twitter Lists can be a useful tool. Do share your experiences.
If learning more about social media is your bag, then make sure you send a joining request to our Facebook group specially for sharing new ideas and tips. It can be found at

Author: Tim Burkinshaw

I work in ecology and biodiversity in North Yorkshire. I'm often found outdoors snapping nature and landscapes or spotting birds. In the garden I enjoy having my hands in the earth and striving for the perfect mix of greens and browns in my compost. As a Daddy and adopter I'm used to endless questions about the world around us, and generally have an answer up my sleeve for most things. If you spot me and my hat in real life or on social media do say hello!

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