twitter lists

Well, how fun was that? Aspie rocking out several hours obsessing over twitter lists, and it felt gooooood.


Here’s the thing. I’ve been listing incoming followers on twitter just to keep people straight because I’m a compulsive sort who actually likes checking out bios and compartmentalizing tweeps into rows and groups. Twitter is a funny place, so easy to lose people. I find I can keep up with about 30, remember who another 20 are beyond that, maybe even touch base once in a blue moon with 15 more, but around 70 is where the rest become a blur, which is sad because I really like checking in on some of them because they are so unique and fresh.

I’ve got some sweet followers waving me down to get them listed. I’m quite surprised to see nearly everything from posh resorts, dining, and wineries to best selling authors and editors, from CEOs of world marketing to health care and gaming merchandisers, from parody squirrel and turtle accounts to professional actors and film producers, all showing up in my followers list. But twitter is like that, a smorgasbord of everyone mishmashing around in real time together, and the boundaries are so different from all other social media that it’s actually quite common. Twitter is the mosh pit of the social media world.


I’ve noticed they come in bunches. I list a Japanese restaurant, a couple more Asian restaurants hop on almost immediately. I list an author, boom, 5 more authors suddenly follow me. I’m still not sure what to do with my ‘websites and marketing’ list, but apparently Targit takes my list seriously enough for half the staff to follow me. And of course I checked out their services because I’m a curious sort, very sleek. If I ever need help with a got rich quick problem, I might be tweeting with those guys.

It gets a little annoying, though, when ‘big’ people follow me and then immediately unfollow after I’ve listed them. That’s like they expect me to give them a free piggyback ride, right? The least they could do is keep following me so my numbers will look cool. It’s not like they actually try to wade through an onslaught of incoming feed themselves if they follow only a few people, and most rarely tweet anything but business. It would be a courtesy if they continued to follow me, sort of like a ‘thank you for listing me’ gesture.


So yesterday when a Forbes exec unfollowed me within 24 hours of me listing him, I decided I’ve had enough. I’ve been walked on by film producers, music artists, a number of authors and self described CEOs, and the gall that all of them have to assume free advertising services from me while I’m bogging through my own empire building challenges is about as rude as it gets. To immediately unfollow me without so much as a thank you for the listing, to walk away as uncaring as if I were a pole they just tacked a paper to is so selfish and dehumanizing that it’s all I can do not to run after them protesting that their bios touting ‘leadership’ and ‘growing your business’ and whatever other nonsense runs counterintuitive to the shameful kind of networking they’re doing. These people know better. And they make way more money than me.

I’ve decided to restructure my lists. One day I’ll have too many followers to keep up with listing them, so I will necessarily have to close the lists to new followers. That will make those lists exclusive, especially if I’m successful growing my twitter the way I hope. I know people who sell ad space on their blogs because they can. Maybe they have a bestseller on their hands and are kind enough to hobnob with followers on a blog, and help boost them with special promos, right? I mean, if you run a blog that averages 500 comments, a lot of people see those ads. I know some of you aren’t aware of this, but premium space sharing easily goes for $200 a month per person. On a blog. So for a Forbes exec to abruptly unfollow me right after I graciously list him, yes, that is extremely ~rude~.


I’m about at the place on my main twitter where I can still just keep my balance. It won’t be long until there is no way I can keep grooming my lists and weeding out accounts that go dormant or wildly skew into new lifestyles, or maybe even get hacked. I run into other people’s lists and have to laugh when I see more than 2000 on a list that’s basically there just so that person can keep track of who retweets them or something. That’s way too obsessive, and a full time job no one is being paid for, if they ever take the time to check on the accounts they list to make sure they’re still viable.

I’m trimming my own lists back while I can- carrying out the trash, making sure everyone’s in the right place, sweeping the corners, as it were. No sense filling lists up with accounts that go dormant or suddenly veer off into depressive bouts of porn spam. I’m no longer surprised by what start out seeming to be solid accounts turning into lewd jokes and pictures of cats and bongs, although I’ve been surprised several times by ‘nice’ people suddenly retweeting shocking things into my list feeds. It’s a little ridiculous to, say, push pictures of the food you serve in your business all day and suddenly veer into political hate or sex pix. Very teenagery kind of behavior, in my opinion, to not consider the consequences of abruptly filling list feeds with one’s angsty emotional problems. I’m usually pretty quiet about it, but when someone has a breakdown of any kind in my lists, I just take them off the list.


If I ever reach the point where I could conceivably ask people for money to feature them on my blogs (which I’ve stated I’ll never do, but you get the point), it will be a big deal who already has prime real estate on my twitter lists. For free. Lists are mostly there to cheat the following limits and organize feeds, but several keen minds are noticing lists are also an awesome way to wind up being seen more in searches. I’ve actually run into marketing articles that instruct professional motivational speakers how to play the follow/unfollow game, how to use media tools to keep their own numbers trim while they grow fat accounts on the free rides they get from silly TV watchers who are too busy with kids and jobs and life in general to notice they are being used. Well, they don’t say it quite like that, but yeah, I’m sure they’re snickering. I think that’s a shameful and ridiculous way to network. What’s even sadder is how many rising film and music producers and authors are copying this strategy thinking they are being clever because they are too lazy to create their own list feeds to sort out incoming. Just because celebrities regularly tout a severely imbalanced following to follower ratio doesn’t mean that is a good way to do business. When I see accounts like that I automatically think ‘lazy’ and ‘easy to brush off the public’.

Everyone I list is hand picked and rechecked several times a year. I’ve been bumping people off right and left off several different lists this week for misleading bios, spam tweets, and abandonment, and I don’t intend to continue this dizzying level of activity trying to keep up with incoming followers waiting to be listed. From now on, some of my lists will have this in the description- “if you follow 2 get listed & then unfollow, I unlist”, and maybe soon that will turn into “this list is closed to new accounts” or something.


I have some pretty cool twitter accounts following me. I have friends who have some really impressive people following them too. This is part of the twitter game, but that kind of stuff gets lost in the jumble so quickly, and unless you actually check once in awhile you have no idea if a celebrity still follows or jumped into a different account name, and you might even forget one day that ever happened. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t need to hang on every word my favorite celebrities say, but I do allow a handful to exist in my twitter lists without having to follow me back, Weird Al being my favorite. I also put JK Rowling in my author list because I like her, but God help the authors that follow me to get listed and then unfollow, because I show no mercy, no matter what they’ve written. I don’t expect anyone in my science list to follow me back, but you better believe everyone in my marketing list has to stay following or go poof.

If you guys have twitter accounts and have no idea how lists work or whether you are on one, you really need to click around. I was surprised the first time I did that and found out I’m a member in over 60 lists. Are you list worthy? If someone listed you, would you feel good that they thought your timeline was worth channeling into a special feed?


Sadly, this includes the CEOs *cough*Forbesexec*cough*.