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Make your Twitter feed less annoying in 3 simple steps

Lisa Schmeiser | April 29, 2013
It's trendy to complain about Twitter being overwhelming, and to say that whatever value the social media site once had has been drowned in a sea of incorrect, boring, or fatuous tweets. While the first reply to these complaints is, "Learn how to pare down your Twitter streams," sometimes that can be tougher than it seems.

It's trendy to complain about Twitter being overwhelming, and to say that whatever value the social media site once had has been drowned in a sea of incorrect, boring, or fatuous tweets. While the first reply to these complaints is, "Learn how to pare down your Twitter streams," sometimes that can be tougher than it seems.

For example, in your job you might be expected to follow all of your coworkers' work-related streams, and dropping an annoying coworker might be seen as slacking off. Or your cousin who tweets incendiary political sayings 50 times daily also happens to be the guy who freaks out the minute his follower count drops, and you have no doubt he'd make a scene at Thanksgiving over you unfollowing him. You're a fan of employment and/or your aunt's pumpkin pecan pie, so your Twitter stream stays cluttered with tweets that make you roll your eyes. What to do, what to do?

Nobody's here to judge you on why you don't just unfollow certain accounts on a social media platform in which participation is completely voluntary. (And if you are here to judge, take it to the comments.) We're here to tell you how to handle your overfull, irritating Twitter stream.

To reduce your frustration without reducing the amount of useful, informative, or entertaining messages in your feed, try these three strategies.

Step one: Make lists

Twitter's list feature is your new best friend in social media. First, because it will force you to sort through your followers and categorize them. Second, because the list feature permits you to make private lists, and these private lists are where you will corral the Twitter streams you find annoying, overly voluminous, or boring.

Twitter lists aren't just handy for avoiding any social or career-related awkwardness. You should also use them to sort the Twitter feeds you follow by topic, by purpose, or by social connection. Basically, you're going to have the best of all possible Twitter worlds: Some lists will help you suck down information from a variety of sources, some lists will help you jump into conversations with other people on Twitter, and some will help you avoid awkward social or vocational conversations because they're where you exile the feeds that are neither informative nor entertaining, yet still apparently necessary for maintaining your social media profile at work or among your friends and family.

If you've never set up a private list in Twitter, it's very easy. Go to your profile page, and click the "Lists" option. A pop-up window will ask you, first, to give your new list a name and a description, and then to choose whether the list is public or private. When in doubt, go with "private." Once your list has been created, you can go through the feeds you follow and add the relevant ones to the list.

 

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