If you haven’t read My first Twitter How-To, please do so before reading this post.

Today I’m focusing on three tips. The overall theme is CONNECTION.

#1. TWITTER IS COMPRISED OF REAL PEOPLE

Twitter works best if you participate. Lurking is fine on Facebook (as I once discussed here), but Twitter requires interaction. Even if you’re more reserved in “real life,” I suggest speaking up on Twitter. If you find someone’s tweet informative or helpful, retweet it or @reply your two cents. The RT is probably the best option though in the world of Twitter where spreading the word is king.

Some say they find Twitter impersonal and cumbersome. For me it’s been the opposite, which is why I’d like to help you feel less overwhelmed by the site. Making lists helped enormously (more on that later), as did reaching out to new people, and reaching back to people. This doesn’t mean you need to spend tons of time on Twitter. Keep your Twitter time focused and useful and you’ll be in good shape.

#2. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS

Quality over quantity applies to Twitter. Forty true readers/RTers are better than 500 people who wouldn’t recognize your handle and avatar if they flew off the screen. In “real” life, you connect with some people more than others. Twitter is no different. If you’re reaching out and somebody isn’t responding, put your focus elsewhere. There’s no shortage of interesting, funny, informative people out there on Twitter.

#3. HOW TO MAKE TWITTER LISTSHow to Make Twitter Lists

Lists make Twitter manageable once you start following a lot of people. (Arbitrarly, let’s call more than 100 “a lot.”) Using lists SIMPLIFIES your Twitter experience. I promise.

Here we go. (EDITED TO SAY: Twitter changes its interface from time to time. These directions are current as of 6/20/14 when using Twitter on an actual computer, not the iPhone.)

  • Log into Twitter. (Real Twitter, not Hootsuite, etc.)
  • Click on your name next to your avatar.
  • On the menu bar near where it says how many followers you have. Click find “More.”
  • Now look at the right side of the page. Click “Create a List”
  • Personally, I have several lists. All public. Create your list names now. If you want to see my lists for an example of how I divided my tweeps, click here.
  • Make all your desired lists then click on the number of people you’re following. Notice the square next to each person’s name with the circle thingy?  Click it. Once the box opens choose “add to list” from the drop down menu. You should see the names of your lists now. If the person doesn’t fit well into one of your lists, you can create a new list right from there.
  • As you go down the “following” page, put everyone on a list. I only assign people to one list so I’m not seeing the same tweets twice. I cannot over-emphasize this point. Do NOT put someone on more than one list.
  • Making lists creates camaraderie. For example, anyone on my “Twin Cities” list can glance at the names to see other local tweeps.
  • A note about private lists: When you choose “private” instead of “public” in the “Create List” option, nobody can see your list, not even the people on it. There’s a use for this. Maybe you want to put your favorite tweeps on a private list and read that list when you’re in a hurry. Just remember when your list is private the people on it don’t get a chance to experience that “community” feeling.
  • IMPORTANT: Once you’re accustomed to using lists, don’t forget to click around to see all your different lists or you’ll miss a lot of tweets. (I only read the general feed from time to time. For the most part, I rely on the lists.)
  • Finally, if you use Hootsuite you can arrange the screen so all your lists are next to each other, which is one of the main perks of using that site as opposed to the actual Twitter site.
  • iPhone users! I noticed in June (2014) that we can finally add people to lists or remove them lists right from the iPhone app. That’s new and so useful. Click on someone’s profile then look for that same circle thingy, which will get you to the “add to list” option.

#3B. EDITING TWITTER LISTS

  • Log into Twitter. (Real Twitter, not Hootsuite, etc.)
  • Click on your name by your avatar.
  • On center menu click ‘More’ then ‘Lists.’
  • Click on the name of the list you want to edit.
  • On the left side of the screen, click edit.
  • From there you change the name of the list, see the members all on one page, take people off the list, or delete the list entirely.

GO TO TWITTER TIPS: PART III. PROFESSIONALISM AND BEST PRACTICES FOR BLOGGERS AND AUTHORS.


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Nina Badzin is a freelance writer, an advice columnist at The HerStories Project, a book reviewer at greatnewbooks.org, and a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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