Twitter Lists are arguably the most underutilized feature on Twitter. It's interesting to note Twitter's layout circa 2009-2011 placed Lists on the same level of significance (both metaphorically and literally) as the number of your followers and who you were following. Yet, in recent memory, they have been stuck at the bottom of the left sidebar. Then again, if the upcoming design rumblings are any indication, Twitter Lists are about to make a comeback.
As I indicated in my most recent writeup, if Twitter can truly become our 21st Century newspaper, Twitter Lists are your 21st Century newspaper sections.
A standard newspaper has a number of sections: local news, national news, sports, business, entertainment and more.
With Twitter and specifically Twitter Lists, you can recreate the exact same format, but with an optimal mix of sources that speak to your personal preferences.
For your Local News List, consider curating a list of the local publications, local news stations, local reporters, local journalists and local bloggers. Similarly, for your National News List, consider curating a list of nationals publications (e.g. @AP), national outlets (e.g. @CNN) and national reporters (e.g. @andersoncooper). My Personal News Lists includes some of the aforementioned examples, plus the latest in certain subject areas of interest like entrepreneurship (e.g. @EntMagazine), leadership (e.g. @HarvardBiz), productivity (e.g. @99u) and social media (e.g. @Mashable).
For your Sports News List, consider including traditional sources like publications (@SInow), web destinations (e.g. @ESPN), reporters (@ErinAndrews) and journalists (@BillSimmons), but the best commentary may come from the athletes (e.g. @KingJames), coaches (e.g. @MarkJackson13), teams (@ATLHawks) and even the fans/owners (e.g. @mcuban) themselves. Best of all, you can intentionally exclude all the local & national sports news you could care less about (e.g. your local college rival).
For your Entertainment News List, let's be honest -- no one said you have to include @KimKardashian. On a personal level, I love to follow writers (e.g. @BrianSolis), comedians (e.g. @AzizAnsari), actors (e.g. @AdamDevine), and musicians (e.g. @JasonIsbell).
But, best of all, Twitter Lists allow you to go beyond your traditional newspaper sections as well.
Personally, I've created a number of sections I'd encourage others to build as well:
-People I Find Most Interesting
-People I'd Love to Meet
-People I Know (And Want to Know Better)
-People I Went to College With
-People Who Could Buy My Service
Not only do these 'newspaper sections' allow you to keep up with the latest in each of these worlds, but don't forget this is social media: Twitter allows you to connect with any of these people so take advantage when you have something interesting to say to any of their real-time news (AKA tweets). Engaging in a two-way dialogue allows you to develop rapports with people you've never even met or stronger rapports with those you already know.
If you have a thirst for knowledge and want to make the most of Twitter as the 21st Century newspaper, Twitter Lists are your savior.
Follow Adam Wexler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thewordpainter