Twitter lists

11th Dec, 2020

Twitter is pretty much the only social media platform I use. It’s a useful platform, but not without problems.

I try to balance the time I spend on there. I don’t have the app on my phone and recently switched to TweetDeck on desktop.

TweetDeck took a little getting used to, but the best feature I’ve found is the ability to browse using Twitter lists by default.

Still, it’s easy to get sucked into reading replies about fairly depressing stuff. Especially on mobile, where the default is the timeline, rather a list.

So, taking inspiration from Anil Dash’s article, I unfollowed everyone on Twitter and copied everyone I’m following onto a list.

Going list-based

Whenever I’ve seen an account following no-one, I’ve thought it was odd. Possibly even a little arrogant.

How do they keep in touch with people or see content? Are they just broadcasting, rather than interacting?

The answer is: use lists as an alternative timeline. But because you’re not following anyone, you’re in more control of what you see.

Lists let me ‘follow’ and keep in touch with the people I want, but in a more healthy way.

If you’ve unfollowed everyone, why should I follow you?

I’m not sure that you should, in the traditional sense at least. Everyone has to make platforms work for them: for some that will mean using the follow function, for others it’s lists.

Lists let me ‘follow’ and keep in touch with the people I want, but in a more healthy way. The existence of lists – and their comparable functionality to the timeline – shows just how much of a vanity metric a follower count is.

For now, this is an experiment. I’m interested to see if it improves Twitter and makes it easier to cut out toxic stuff.

If you want to do the same thing without the command line, I found this script that worked pretty nicely.