Twitter can be exhausting. As you follow more and more people, your feed becomes more and more cluttered, until it’s just one long stream of bad jokes, shameless self-promotion, political doom, and the occasional subtweet. It doesn’t help that Twitter’s algorithm seems hard-wired to bring the worst of tweets right to the top.
Sure, you could go on a mass unfollow spree, but muting offenders of your carefully curated timeline is tedious. Plus, you don’t want to offend @YourMom or @ThatBadFirstDateYouNeverCalledBack with an unfollow. So here’s another way: Organize your feed into lists.
Twitter lists are finely-curated feeds of all the people you want to hear from on a given topic. A list could be “Tech News” or “Bob’s Burgers fans,” and it will display only the tweets from accounts you put on that list. Unlike your home feed, Twitter lists aren’t affected by Twitter’s weird and sometimes frustrating algorithms, so everything shows up in reverse chronological order. Plain and simple.
Make a List
OK, so how do you do it? First, figure out how you’re going to sort everything. Are you trying to simply separate the friendly from the newsworthy? Or do you want a list for every topic under the sun? Twitter lets you create up to 1,000 lists, so you can really go nuts. If you’re just getting started, though, start with one simple list. It could be a list of all your IRL friends, or all the journalists covering one topic you’re interested in, or comedy accounts you like.
After you’ve got your list planned out, open Twitter, tap on your avatar in the right hand corner, and select “lists.” On the right hand panel, you’ll see a button to “create new list.” Twitter gives you the option to make your lists private or public, but if you’re creating lists for your own personal browsing needs, we recommend making them all private. Twitter notifies people when they’re added to a public list (but not a private one), and you wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings when you add them to the “B-List” list.
Once you’ve created and named your list, you’ll be able to search for everyone you want to put on it—even people you don’t follow—and blitz through them all until you’ve got the perfect feed for “breaking news” or “all of Twitter’s best doggo pics.” This option also shows up on every person’s card under your “following” page, if you want to just add everyone to a list at once, though this is a bit more grueling. Keep in mind that these lists don’t have to be perfect from the jump: You can always add people later by clicking on the little gear icon in their profile and selecting “add/remove from lists.”
Now, go forth and make some rad lists of the best people to follow. If you need some guidance, here are some good ideas for lists to get you started: close friends, political reporters, tech journalists, comedians, people with common interests, and celebrities you might not want your friends to judge you for following. Start constructing them now and you’ll find yourself closer to social media bliss.