Something we’ve heard many times from multiple professionals is ‘how can I have a better social media strategy without it taking up too much of my time?’ Social media can be seen as time consuming distraction; however, it can also be an important factor when growing your research interests, organization or business because it allows you to reach a much larger audience than you would be able to face-to-face. That said, we want to help you maximize your time by sharing one key tip that has helped us make better use of our time on Twitter: tapping into the power of Twitter lists.

The KNAER Twitter account currently follows 2,809 accounts. Many of these organizations and individuals tweet regularly, which, if we’re not careful, can mean we spend a good chunk of time scrolling through a full day of tweets from almost 3,000 different accounts we follow. One way we make more efficient use of our time is by creating Twitter lists. According to Twitter, “a list is a curated group of Twitter users and a great way to organize your interests” ( Twitter lists have helped us to narrow down content and focus on specific issues related to knowledge mobilization or education in Ontario. When we are looking for stories, content, and articles that we think will be relevant to our followers, the first place we look is our Twitter lists! For example, KNAER is now in Phase II with math and wellbeing thematic networks, and a large proportion of our tweets will be associated with these two topics. When we curate content, it can be onerous to scroll through thousands of tweets related to math or wellbeing that may be relevant to our audience. Instead, we create a Twitter list comprised of several accounts that promote mathematics or wellbeing. Hashtags are great for searching for specific events (think conferences) or topics, but Twitter lists allow us to narrow our scope without narrowing it down to only one event, word, or trending topic.

Interested in getting started with Twitter lists? Here are a few tips:

To create a new list, click on your profile icon and find the ‘List’ option in the drop down menu on your profile. Next, click “Create List” found on the right side of the page and you will be asked to name your list; a description can be added here as well. At this stage, it is possible to choose whether you want to keep your list public or private. If you choose public, the Twitter handles added to this list will be notified. We tend to keep most of our lists private as they are used for our organization purposes only, but either option can work. Some teachers or researchers may want to create a public list to inform others that they are interested in a particular subject or topic, math for example, and this can help with online community building.

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Individual Twitter users can be added to lists by clicking on their profile, using the drop down menu on the side (next to the follow button), and then by clicking “add or remove from lists”.

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With a little help from Sprout Social and Buffer, here are some Twitter list ideas we have come up with:

• Your team, department, or faculty (Forest Heights SS teachers, or the University of Waterloo Faculty of Applied Health Science)
• Event attendees or conference-goers (#ICSEI2017)
• Mini-communities of those with shared interests (#OntEd or #KMb)
• Thought leaders in your community
• Location-based (Toronto, Northern Ontario, specific neighbourhoods)

Have a question? Feel free to ask us via @KNAER_RECRAE - we are happy to help! We’d love to hear how Twitter lists are making your online life a little bit easier.