twitter for journalists


Clay Shirky is famous for having said "There is no such thing as information overload - there's only filter failure." Making sense of an overflowing Twitter stream is an ongoing act of curation - finding ways to follow just the most interesting readers, or to gather tweets that are relevant to your life or job.

While saved searches and hash tags provide a way to gather info from across Twitter by keyword, the Lists feature does the opposite - it gathers tweets from across the service by particular users, regardless the content of their tweets.

Every Twitter user can create lists, add users to those lists, and can even track lists created by other users. As a journalist, you might create custom lists for:

  • Other journalists
  • Other publications
  • Journalists at your own publication
  • Community leaders
  • School leaders in your community
  • Economists
  • Data visualization experts
  • Sports reporters covering soccer leagues
  • ...

You get the idea. Whatever your beat, you want to find people on Twitter with expertise in that area, and add them to a list. When you only have limited time to read and don't want to wade through noise, go straight to your lists to get a streamlined view. Of course, there's no guarantee that a journalist in one of your lists won't also sometimes tweet about their family life - that comes with the territory. It's up to you to curate your lists so they remain as relevant as possible.

Publications List
To deal with information overload, create Twitter lists consisting of everything posted by a certain collection of users. Shown: a list of "Publications" in the author's account. Follow this list here.

Note: You do not need to follow a user to put them on a list!

To add someone to a list on, go to their profile page, click the downward arrow next to the profile icon, and select Add to List. You can even add a person to multiple lists!

Other Twitter clients will show the list management interface in different ways or places, but the concept is always the same.

While surfing another user's Twitter profile, check out their lists - you can "subscribe" to other people's lists and track them as if you had made them (though you can't modify someone else's list).

Want a good way to find lists relevant to your community or area of coverage? Try the site Listorious, which can be searched by keyword. However, we think you'll get the most value out of lists you create yourself.

Make it a habit: It's really hard to go back and organize all of your followees into lists retroactively. When following a new user, make a habit of adding them to a list right then and there!