Organizing your Twitter stream

Like some people, I use Twitter to stay in touch with friends and colleagues. I also use Twitter to keep up with news, current events, and exciting changes in the world of technology and sci-fi. I hope to think that now (after the changes I describe in this post) I use it wisely and in such a way that doesn’t clutter up my time.

I had already taken some steps to declutter my Twitter stream, but I felt I hadn’t maximized Twitter’s full potential and that I was missing out on some really great information from fellow users and getting stuff I didn’t always want. I created lists but found it frustrating to go through all of the people I was following one by one, look at their profiles, determine if they were still active Twitter users, then finally add them to a specific list. It didn’t seem like a very good use of my time and I started looking for other ways to make the process more effective.

First, I used the service justunfollow. This helped me identify who was not tweeting regularly any longer. I decided I would unfollow anyone who hadn’t tweeted in more than three months. Then, I looked at who was following me and decided whether or not I should follow them in return. I decided out of my followers, I would not follow anyone who only tweeted spam or sales pitches. I chose not to follow anyone with protected tweets and users without photographs or biographies.

There were some people I was following who were not following me back. I guess I don’t really expect Leonard Nimoy or Sir Patrick Stewart to follow me, but I’m going to keep following them because I’m a fan.

Once I had determined who to follow, I created a few new lists based on area of expertise of Twitter users. I also created some lists based on geographical area. My lists include:

  • Family and friends
  • Business builders
  • Technology experts
  • Organizing and productivity experts
  • Cool people from different areas in which I have lived
  • The famous and the infamous

I used TwitList Manager to find who was not already on a list. It allowed me to add users to specific lists in seconds. I could see who was on more than one list and easily move people to my preferred list. Overall, it took me less than an hour to completely re-organize my Twitter stream. By using justunfollow and Twitlist Manager every few weeks, I’m able to easily maintain this level of organization and get all the information I want in a timely, uncluttered manner.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you use Twitter, consider following us at @Unclutterer.

9 Comments for “Organizing your Twitter stream”

  1. posted by jalyth on

    When you sign up for just unfollow, you are giving them permission to follow people for you (as well as tweet on your behalf). Does this sit well with your philosophy? Or might it work to allow it briefly, for the purpose you stated, and then delete its permissions?

  2. posted by Barb on

    The only Twitter posts I care to read are those by my nieces. My time is too valuable to worry about missing more information that really doesn’t add anything to my life or my purpose in life. Twitter is just more busy work. Cut the cord and start living.

  3. posted by Heidi on

    I don’t use Twitter at all. I also gave up Facebook in December and haven’t looked back. It’s so freeing!

  4. posted by Beverly on

    Electronic organization would be unnecessary if people weren’t so attached to their toys. And it’s certainly NOT an issue for me as I don’t Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, ,Youtube or any other social media because all it does is waste time when one could be doing something productive. I also only rarely comment on your site.

  5. posted by Caffie on

    I think the comments previous are a bit negative- wanting to keep up with social media isn’t -always- bad, or clutter. If I want to read short, silly jokes and quips made by celebrities or friends on twitter, then I have to right to. If social media makes you happy- and doesn’t take over your life, mind you- then it’s not clutter.
    For me, social media helps me connect with my dearest friends (all of whom live out of state/country) so it’s a huge part of my life and I do organize and keep my feeds tidy accordingly. There’s such a stigma against social media these days, as if it’s some kind of soul-draining monster, but it’s no worse than any other form of entertainment, and it can actually really benefit people too, like myself because I don’t get to see people I love in person very often.
    I realize that lots of people are addicted to checking feeds and updates constantly and they pour their entire lives into social media, and I do agree that -that- is not very healthy, but to act like every form of social media is wrong or bad is just ridiculous and overdramatic.
    I’m gonna step off my soapbox and actually comment on the article now- these are neat ideas, and while I prefer to manually check through my feeds (I follow few enough people that it’s not a hassle), I can definitely see the use in them, and I’ll keep these in mind for the potential future. I think I’m going to go through my things now, thank you for the reminder!

  6. posted by Heidi on

    My comment was not meant to be negative, just another point of view on uncluttering. It’s true that social media can be a very helpful thing, but just like everything else in life, it can get cluttered. My point was that I don’t even have to unclutter my twitter feed, because I don’t have one. Just like I don’t have to unclutter my DVR because I don’t have one. Everybody can decide for themselves. I’m not better because I don’t use social media, just a little less cluttered. 🙂

  7. posted by Erin Doland on

    I’m with Caffie in the moderation category. Books and newspapers withdraw us from being in the present, but books are some of my best friends and my journalism degree is how I ultimately ended up at Unclutterer 🙂 What is important is to review all of your time commitments to make sure that everything you do (social media, volunteer opps, hobbies, etc.) is in line with your life’s priorities and isn’t taking you away from what matters most to you. For me, staying in regular touch with my friends and family is a priority for me, and we’ve found social media to be one way to do that. It isn’t our only method of communication, but it’s a way to share those everyday moments. If social media doesn’t align with your priorities, kick it to the curb! If it does, organize it and utilize it in a way that doesn’t allow it to become a distraction 🙂

  8. posted by Matthew on

    Interesting that people go for the throat on this whole social network thing. These are free services that you can use in anyway that you choose (to clutter, organize or how ever you want). Like anything else, they have positives and negatives.

    Personally, I have dozens of sites and news organizations followed on my twitter, so instead of going to all these sites/news sources individually, all their content is kept in one specific place. Then I retweet news that I find particularly helpful/informative/interesting and become a “curator” of my own information (as opposed to creating “new content” of what I ate for lunch that day).

    Works great for me. How do you use your social networks?

  9. posted by John Mayson on

    I created Twitter lists and I view them using the Flipboard app. It’s an easy way to browse through categories that interest me.

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