Twitter Lists for Journalism and PR

Twitter is in the process of rolling out a new feature called Twitter Lists, which will enable all users to create private or public lists of Twitter users as they see fit. I’ve been playing with this feature for a couple of days now and am looking forward to publishing a few lists that I hope will be helpful for @journalistics followers. In the meantime, I thought it would be helpful to give you the quick scoop on what this feature is all about, and how I think it will be useful for journalists and public relations professionals.

What is Twitter Lists?

Hundreds of bloggers have already written about Twitter Lists, but in case you missed it, this new feature will enable you to create, manage and share lists of Twitter followers in your account. Let’s say you’d like to create a list of “My Favorite People on Twitter” for your other followers to see. In the past, you would have been limited to a “Follow Friday” shout out or a separate post on your blog. With this new feature, you can create a new list, add the Twitter users you want to share, and publish the list to your profile. Similar to features found in Twitter clients like TweetDeck or Seesmic, you can also create your own private lists of Twitter users, to help you manage your interactions more efficiently. In short, Twitter lists adds a new component to the viral nature of Twitter and is sure to increase usage and cross-pollination among users even further.

How Journalists Can Use Twitter Lists

I started think of some quick and easy ways journalists could use Twitter Lists to keep better tabs on their sources. I came up with the following:

  • Create a public list of all the journalists at your organization
  • Create a private list of your sources, organized by beat, story topic, or by people you’ve interviewed in the past
  • Create a private list of your competitors, so you can keep tabs on what they’re writing about
  • Create industry-specific lists of experts to brainstorm new story ideas
  • Create geographic lists for sources in specific markets
  • Create hashtag-based lists, for people who regularly participate in discussions around a particular tag (i.e. a conference or current event)

How PR Professionals Can Use Twitter Lists

  • Create a list of your clients who actively use Twitter
  • Create a list of your colleagues at your organization
  • Create a private list of journalists you want to follow or target with story ideas
  • Organize media contacts by geography, beat, past interaction, etc.
  • Create a list of media organizations, to keep tabs on current events or stories – for example, create a list of the top social media Twitter users

Same Strategies, New Tactics

Most of you are already using tools like the MediaOnTwitter wiki to find journalists who use Twitter. With lists, you have a new way to customize your lists around your specific needs. This can be a huge time-saver and ultimately can help you get more out of Twitter. As you increase your following on Twitter, you’ll find that lists can help you organize your contacts in new ways, to help make you a better user of social media. The Twitter Lists feature is similar to the features found in Facebook or FriendFeed, which enable you to organize contacts by your own categories. This approach seems to be more efficient and easier to do on-the-fly. More importantly, it’s a lot more viral, as you can share your lists with others to help them connect with people you find relevant to a specific category.

For a good example of how Twitter Lists can be used, check out Jay Rosen’s list of the best mindcasters he knows.

Are you using Twitter Lists yet? Do you have any ideas that I haven’t thought of? Please share your suggestions.

(Image Credit: twitter – What are you doing? by keiyac)

About Jeremy Porter 214 Articles
Jeremy Porter has been passionate about the intersection of public relations and journalism since studying both Public Relations and Journalism at Utica College of Syracuse University in the late 90s. Porter launched Journalistics in 2009 to share his ideas and insights around both professions and how trends and developments in modern day marketing, communications, and technology impact those working in these fields. Porter also values the traditions and history of both professions and regularly shares his perspective in these areas - and related topics geared toward the next generation of journalism and public relations professionals.


  1. Nice piece Jeremy. Usually there’s plenty of redundancy when reading on Twitter. You managed to drop a few pearls of wisdom regarding the use of the Lists feature for me to take away. Thank you.

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