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Tame your Twitter feed

Kirk McElhearn | Jan. 23, 2014
Overwhelmed by your Twitter feed? Before you unfollow everyone, try organizing your feed with lists.

Likewise, with Tapbots' free Tweetbot for OS X, you can find someone you follow, click on the gear icon next to their name, and choose which lists you want to add them to. You can include a Twitter account in multiple lists, if you like. Many Twitter clients support lists, so check your preferred client to see if it does, too.

Twitlistmanager: If you follow a lot of people and end up with a lot of lists, you might want to try a website such as Twitlistmanager, which lets you easily manage lists. After you sign in with Twitter--granting Twitlistmanager the ability to access your account--you'll see a matrix of the accounts you're following and your lists. Adding or removing users from lists is as easy as checking or unchecking boxes and then clicking Save Changes.

When I created lists with Twitlistmanager, it sometimes created two or three with the same name, confusing matters. I found it easier to create the lists on the Twitter website and manage them from Twitlistmanager. But adding members to your lists is quick and easy with this site. You can even use the "toggle unlisted friends" feature so that only those accounts not yet in lists show up.

Subscribe to lists made by others
You can also follow lists that others have set up, if those lists are public. For example, there is a list of Macworld staff, and another of Macworld contributors that you can subscribe to if you don't want to follow each person individually. Click on either of the links above, then click Subscribe to add that list to your Twitter account.

If your friends or colleagues have their own Twitter lists, you can subscribe to them, too. Click on a profile and then click on Lists. Click on a list you're interested in, and then click Subscribe.

View your Twitter lists
Once you've set up your lists, you'll want to choose the best way to view them. Just about every Twitter client lets you view lists, as does the Twitter website. On the site, click the gear icon, then choose Lists, and you'll see a list of your lists; click one of them to see tweets from its members.

Different apps display lists in different ways, but they all use a similar icon that looks like a stack of three lines. When you click that icon, you'll see your lists, and you can click one to see its tweets. Twitterrific for OS X takes a different approach, putting the lists in its sidebar. Click a list's name to see its tweets.

When you have multiple lists, you'll probably be switching among them during the day. I have one list with friends and colleagues that I follow most of the time. I have others for companies I follow, local businesses, music (artists and labels), and other. I check them occasionally, but since I don't generally interact with those accounts, I don't care about seeing what they have to say in real time.


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