So, here’s the reality. As much as we’d like to, we can’t follow everyone on our social networks. Well, we can, but what happens is a mosh of status updates on our various networks and a constant stream of information that is impossible to digest.
So what do you do? LISTS. Lists are your lifesaver.
I use lists nearly everywhere. On Facebook, I have eight different list of people I follow broken into work, blog friends, close real life friends, mom friends, local to my town friends and neighbors, family, high school friends, and a miscellaneous list for random people I don’t know well (which, frankly, I don’t check all that often). This way I can dip into the lists as I see fit, catch up with people as a group rather than sorting out my high school friend’s updates from my coworkers, etc, etc.
On Twitter, you have two options: public and private lists. I only have one private list there because I primarily use Tweetdeck to manage my followers (there are some serious shortcomings to this, particularly the fact that my phone doesn’t sync with my Tweetdeck on my desktop, so I had to make all my lists twice).
I haven’t made any public lists on Twitter because I’m terrified of leaving someone out. Yes, I know. Stupid. But I have multiple lists on Tweetdeck, as well as a handful of hashtag columns running at any one time (you can use HootSuite the same way as Tweetdeck, although it’s an internet app primarily rather than a desktop one; Tweetdeck also has an internet app version but I prefer the desktop version). At this particular moment, I have 13 columns on Tweetdeck, but the main columns I focus on are my closer friends and business contacts, my @ messages, and my DMs.
Side note: I can always tell folks that don’t use either Twitter or Hootsuite to manage their twitter stream, because they take a long time to respond to direct messages. I think having your updates spread out in column form rather than needing to click through to different pages makes it much easier to keep track of your private messages.
Curating lists is a lot of work; so why bother? For me, I find that it keeps me from suffering from information overload. Even more importantly, it allows me to stay on top of the relationships I have online, which is critical to me not only because I so value those I’ve met online but because it’s part of my job.
What have you done to help manage your followers? Do you use lists?