How Many Twitter Lists Am I On?

I was a BETA tester of Twitter Lists, back in the day, before Twitter officially rolled out the list feature. We were nicely told by Twitter (via a message on top of our profile pages) to keep it quiet and start building lists (well, they weren’t really that bossy but you get my point). We were so excited to be BETA testers but even more excited that Twitter created this new tool to help us filter whom we wanted to keep track of.  In the “old” Twitter, you could easily find out how many lists you were added to by other people simply but looking at the number displayed next to the lists link. But this feature went away with the latest version of Twitter.

I’m on 2,278 Twitter lists, as of this writing.  I was shocked to find out the exact number. It’s a shame that Twitter doesn’t promote this feature more. In fact, with the rollout of the NEW NEW Twitter last year, the lists feature got buried and didn’t even work for a long time. Now it’s working but still buried.

How to Find Out How Many Twitter Lists You’re On

This is easy for those of you who are not on many lists yet: just go to your Lists and click on “member of” and allow the page to load and then do a manual count. But for those of us who are on a thousand or more lists, it’s too cumbersome to do a manual count. Yes, you could use Tweetdeck to easily see how many lists you’re on but not everyone uses Tweetdeck. Note: this is NOT about the number of lists you subscribe to. This is regarding how many lists OTHER people have created and added YOU to.

I searched and searched in Google but no one had an answer for those of us who are on a TON of Twitter lists (like me). But I figured out an easy way:

  1. Go to the lists section of your Twitter account and let the page completely load (you might have to keep scrolling down to allow more loading).
  2. Highlight and copy the entire column that contains all the lists (it’s okay if the profile pics are part of the copying, although you don’t need them for next step).
  3. Paste into a spreadsheet.
  4. Go all the way to the bottom of the spreadsheet and see how many cells filled up. Voila! The total number of cells equals the total number of lists you are a member of.

Here’s Why It’s Good to Be Listed by Twitter Followers

So what’s the big deal – why should you care if you’ve been added to somebody’s list in Twitter? Here’s why: because that list-maker thought you were special enough to keep track of.  Lists are like Social Capital because the more lists you’re on, the more popular you are. You must be doing something right, eh? People want to keep track of you for an important reason. Usually it’s because you’re an expert on a topic they want to learn more about or they want to keep track of you so they’ll remember to read your Tweets, Re-Tweet your Tweets, and/or build a relationship with you.
As people join Twitter, they tend to start following everyone who’s interesting and before you know it, they’ve followed 2,000 people. There’s no way you can keep up with that many people who probably Tweet more than once a day. In fact, the Dunbar study showed that we’re only able to keep in touch with 150 friends, both offline and online.

Below, are the most recent ones I’ve been added to. You can see who added you: their Twitter name is in blue; and their picture is to the right. These are the lists I’m a member of (someone created a list and added me):

Twitter Lists are like social capital - the more lists you're on, the more social capital you have
Pictured above is a sample of some Twitter lists people have added me to.

The Best Reason for YOU to Make Your Own Twitter Lists

The best reason is to build relationships with Very Important People (VIP’s). I have a list of journalists (local, national and international) that I can go to and see what the latest news is that they’re posting. I can also re-tweet (RT) their posts and/or start conversations with them. When I am supportive of my journalist friends by serving them first, they’ll be more open to my friendship. And you know where that can lead to, right? It’s always a good thing to be friendly and supportive of the media.

Another good reason for you to make your own lists is that you could be the first one to assemble a list of people that others want to know about and follow, too. They can subscribe to your list, even if they’re not a member. My Latinos In Social Media list currently has 117 subscribers. I am the source of this list and that has garnered me some recognition.

The biggest and most important reason for you to make your own Twitter lists is so you can be more efficient and effective with your time invested in Twitter. If you want to build relationships with specific people, add them to your lists and remember to visit your lists and interact with these VIP’s on a consistent but NOT stalker-like basis. This is the “good” kind of stalking – because you’ll be serving these VIP’s by re-tweeting them, commenting on their blogs, connecting them to resources and helpful information. When you’re kind and generous (without an agenda) it can come back to you. But don’t go about doing this with self-interest in mind. Go about doing this with love in your heart.

List Etiquette

Important tips regarding the lists feature in Twitter: You should thank the person who added you to their list like this:

  1. You’re probably at the profile of the person who added you to their list but if not, go there.
  2. Click on the list and copy the URL of the list you’re on from the address bar.
  3. Paste the URL into the Tweet box (the list-maker’s name should already be pre-filled int the box for you but if not, add their name with the @ symbol like this (@LoriGama).
  4. In front the URL you just pasted, type something like “Thanks for adding me to your list!”

So here is what that looks like:

I challenge you to start making lists of important people you want to build relationships with. Make a note in your planner to visit people on your lists at least once a week, maybe two or three times but don’t do it every day. You might be perceived of as a stalker.

IMPORTANT:  Members of your lists can see they’ve been added to your list and see the name of the list.  Be sure to name your lists something nice!