Did you have a new year’s resolution regarding social media?  I noticed a few posts and articles related to making changes in the use of social media when the new year started.

I still see value in social media, but I continue to feel dismay at how it is often used to put things out of context and/or to push a particular agenda.  Critical thinking and careful consumption of social media has become so important.

I still find value in using Twitter because of the way I set it up to be more manageable about 8 years ago.  Although I use Twitter a lot less and differently now, I still find useful content and people who continue to share respectfully and thoughtfully.

A recent post by Doug Peterson reminded me how important “lists” can be for Twitter use.  I think the lists I started to create soon after I started a Twitter account are often what still ensures my continued interest in visiting my Twitter timeline.  Doug’s discussion about his lists provides some good ideas for managing Twitter use.  He states and asks,

Twitter lists are indeed one of the best ways to keep tabs on diverse things.

Are you using them to their fullest potential?”

Doug’s post also nicely clarified the “subscribed to” and “member of” lists.

My “Subscribed to” Lists:

A few lists that I created (“subscribed to”) also have followers (subscribers) — I thought that was cool when that happened.  They might not even check those lists, but maybe it is a good alternative to creating one if someone else has already created a public one that might be useful to follow.  Like Doug, I also have one list set to “private” (12 are public).  It was on a suggestion from a friend to create a list of people whose tweets you never want to miss.  No one can see or subscribe to that list but me.  I have also subscribed to 3 lists (Education Leadership, VoicEd authorsInvolvement) that others created publicly, for a total of 15 “subscribed to” lists.

When I started Twitter my focus of interest was Ontario education.  I was also interested in comparing and knowing about education initiatives in other provinces, so I created more lists.  I visit those lists less now, but I will still check them out here and there.  If anyone else would like to look for new connections in a certain province via my lists (but sorry, I only got as far as Ontario and western provinces): ON-ed,  BC-ed,  AB-ed,  Sask/MB-ed.

I have a few more specific education lists:  ed-news (mostly Ont. focused), ESL/resources, Parent/Ed advocates, and online tech.  I will often add someone to an appropriate list before deciding to follow them back.

I have a “local” list, but I will also just check out the popular hashtags for my city and region when I want Twitter to be my “local” feed of news and happenings.

I do spend some time in my main timeline and no “system” is perfect, but I think I have a good balance of serious and fun lists to follow as well.  I enjoy checking out my music list.  I have an “inspiration” one, but I don’t seem to check that one out much — maybe it is time for a adjustment.  I used to have one named, “Actors who say interesting things”, but I recently deleted it.  Not mentioning any names…

My “Member of” Lists:

On a quick count I discovered that I have been added to (“member of”) over 150 lists created by others.  This is not meant to brag, as I know that many of those lists are automated to add people as soon as they tweet using certain hashtags or words.  I doubt all the creators are checking my tweets or those lists.  There must be a point where creating and updating lists can get unmanageable as well.  Most of the lists make some sense as to why I was added — many of them include words in their titles such as education, advocates, and parents.  A few other lists sort of fit, for example, “wild life lover” and “people who love MN” (I occasionally cross the border to visit that state).

My use of Twitter (and lists) will likely keep changing, but I think I have made a good attempt to access diverse topics, people, and viewpoints by using created lists and checking out hashtags linked to topics.  I hope that it helps what I read and also what I share.  Politics will reach my timeline whether I seek out issues or not.  I remain encouraged by the way educators, advocates, artists, photographers and many other individuals use and share on Twitter.

Are lists a part of optimal Twitter use for you?  What works best for you?  Do you have suggestions for additions to any of my lists?

Twitter’s instructions for creating lists here