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Creating Well Curated Newsfeeds On Twitter

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Someone asked me recently about what I mean when I reference my “well-curated newsfeed” on Twitter, so I thought I’d explain it because it really does help me keep up with news in a way no standards news site does.

First, obviously, you need a Twitter account. Then you need to create lists. It’s up to you whether you leave them public or private. Here are my lists but I’m not sure how that page looks if you’re not me. I have a “private” list called “FAVES” and the only reason I leave it private is because that title carries a lot of weight. I don’t mean “these are my favorite people” but that “I don’t want to miss any tweets by these people/agencies” so I make sure I stay caught up on that list. Commander Hadfield is on that list and so is the Pope. John Green and Eliah. Al Jazeera and Tyler Oakley. These are just people who don’t tweet a whole lot, but often share out stuff I don’t want to miss so I keep them on that list. And I keep that list displayed in my Tweetdeck all the time.

But then, I create topical lists. I don’t normally keep my LGBT NEWS list showing but I did for this screengrab. But – if we’re waiting on SCOTUS news or something I’ll keep that list showing on my Tweetdeck. I keep the Black Lives Matter list showing every day. I keep my local news and weather showing. And I keep my Huntsville friends showing because I don’t want to miss their tweets.

That page is just always open on my desktop so I can keep up with news alerts or topical reports. I’ve made lists in the past for some of the monitoring of global revolts, usually multi-day events.

Here’s some notes: You don’t have to follow someone to add them to the list. As a matter of fact, unfollowing them doesn’t remove them from the list, you have to do it separately from unfollowing. ALSO: Be active in maintaining your lists, if a news source was great for a few days but then seemed to only tweet about their favorite TV show for the next week? Remove them. There are a gagillion people on Twitter, there are plenty of people reporting live from the area you’re covering, don’t clutter up your lists with people who aren’t really helping you monitor an event.

I did keep a general “NEWS” list for awhile, and I kept some of my favorites: Al Jazeera, Chris Hayes, Salon, WaPo – but official news outlets really kinda have to cover EVERYTHING and on any giving day at least 50% of the crap they’re talking about, I don’t care about. So that list became useless. I started, instead, of following causes. I’ve got a few other lists I don’t keep pulled up every day: Reproductive Rights, Inspiration, Parenting etc. There are SO MANY sources of SUCH GOOD information out there. Don’t look at your twitter feed as one non-stop barage of chaos, break it up into lists. That’s the best way to do it. Every year when the Barkley Marathons occur I pull up that list because it’s one of the only ways to get news out of that event since it’s not really “connected” so to speak. Twitter is a powerful way to get news directly from the source, if you don’t mind a few minutes here and there to filter out the noise.

Do you have any twitter peeps you love for any topic/reason? I follow TONS of comedians and while I don’t have a “funny peeps” list…I think I might go make one…

4 thoughts on “Creating Well Curated Newsfeeds On Twitter”

  1. Zoot, you are a wealth of information lately. Last week I logged into my Twitter account for the first time in years, and I was like: wait, what is the point of this again?
    So now I’m going to make lists, too!

    On a somewhat deeper note, I used to blog A LOT. Went to more than one BlogHer, loved my blog, blah, blah, blAh. Then I went to rehab. For…more than a few days. It wasn’t my intention to stop blogging when I returned, but that’s what happened. I’d always blogged under the guideline of “no matter what you write about, if you write your truth, someone will find it compelling.” And suddenly my truth just seemed so complicated and so tangled up with other people’s truths…so I just stopped typing. That was more than five years ago.

    But, guess what? Being silent sucks!

    Your posts have been so thoughtful lately. Really inspiring. Supertiff is going to open up shop again soon. Thank you for that.

  2. After reading this I confirmed I definitely underutilize Twitter. I intend to give my feed a serious combing over this weekend and tweak it to use lists more. I think I was overwhelmed by the randomness that comes with a simple linear feed and I’m excited to give it another go! Thank you for this post!

  3. How beneficial are lists if you mainly check twitter from your phone? How does that work?

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