The popularity of twitter in the Geography & Environment Graduate School has exploded in recent months, and there seems to be a fair few academics joining Twitter in general. One of the truths of Twitter usage is the longer you have an account and the more you use it the more people you end up following. I think once you are following above 100-150 accounts it becomes increasingly hard to keep track of what is going on through the traditional feed.
There are a few things you can do to make Twitter usage more manageable and help prevent that feeling of being overwhelmed with information!
The first, and most simple is to rationalise what you use Twitter for and to trim the list of accounts you follow accordingly. If you have set up your account primarily to engage with fellow academics do you really need to be following footballers and Stephen Fry? By restricting the people you are following to people who are providing information you are really interested in you can make your feed more manageable.
The second and I think neater solution is to use “lists” to compartmentalise the different groups of people you follow. Lists are a function in Twitter that can be used to create a feed of multiple accounts that share a theme, often these are set up by people to share interesting groups of accounts, for example the Geography & Environment Researchers list maintained by The University of Southampton account (right). This is public and anyone can look at it, or subscribe to it.
It is possible to set up private lists, these are only visible to the person who set them up and are a good way to group together similar accounts you follow.
This shows all the lists you have set up, as well as any public ones you have been added to by other people. Select “Create List” button at the top right.
Type the name you want, here we are creating a list called “academics”, and make sure to select “Private” from the radio buttons at the bottom of the box, the default is a public list. Save.
All your lists appear and you can add the account to the one(s) you want. Here we are adding Doctor Ellie Biggs to the academics list. Once you’ve ticked the box(es) you just close the pop-up, no need to save.
Finally from our Twitter home page select the profile button at the top right again and “lists” from the drop down and then click on one of the created lists, here I have selected “academics”, this looks identical to the main twitter feed, but now displays ONLY those tweets from people I have included as “academics”.
This is useful as it means you can still follow all those cricketers and Justin Beiber, but when you open Twitter up you can easily check and see what the groups of accounts you are really interested in have been saying overnight/last week etc. It is really useful if you don’t use twitter that much, but want to make sure you don’t miss information from a select group(s) of people.
I hope this feature helps you to keep on top of the Twitter deluge!