For some people, Twitter lists offers ways to narrow fields of many into few favorites. I use lists to categorize--not to point out my favorites.
Because there are many in our organization who are very new (and newcomers are coming everyday) to Twitter and other social media, I wanted to use lists to easily recommend people to follow. My method is not the most efficient method, but it is way for me to have a bank of accounts that I can refer others to. It is a way for me to personally match colleagues in interests, positions, etc. I feel that I have a role in connecting people with similar interests because it is difficult for newcomers to know where to start to look. Newcomers will quickly see benefits when they immediately belong to a community that matches their interests, passions, and goals.
Cooperative Extension professionals find colleagues in my Cooperative Extension list. My lists come in handy when I am trying find people who specialize in a narrow field.
Using my Cooperative Extension list, I created a Tweetdeck column. When I need to look at what my Cooperative Extension colleagues have said during the day, I look at this column. Using third party applications, like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, give me efficient ways to prioritize and focus .
Please note: Cooperative Extension professionals using social media should register their accounts here http://www.extension.org/people/colleagues/socialnetworks so we can efficiently find colleagues with similar interests and responsibilities.
The majority of the people who I follow do not work for universities or for Cooperative Extension. I learn the most from people unlike me. I follow people who work in public relations, marketing, military, agriculture, education, and government. I follow people who own their own businesses, manage and own farms, attend high school and college, live close by or in Alabama, and are my friends. The variety of people I follow gives me a rich online learning experience. However, keeping up and staying focus are my challenges. Lists helps me focus on certain areas when I need to.
Also, lists give me a way to include a few people who I don’t follow.
I recognize that my criteria for which I build lists is not scalable. But, it works for me now. When I find a better way, I will change.
How To Use Twitter Lists is a good resource for getting started using Twitter lists.
I easily add new people I follow to a list either on Twitter.com (using the instructions in the link above)or in Tweetdeck.
I also create Tweetdeck columns to follow particular search terms (not using the lists). Most of the time the terms are temporary, like when I follow a hashtag associated with a conference.
The constant noise is social media spaces can be frustrating and create time vacuums. With services like Formulists, I hope to integrate filters for location, search terms, and lists.
NOTE: I happen to use Tweetdeck, but other applications, like HootSuite can do the same thing.