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Twitter lists were launched towards the end of 2009 and have turned out to be a valuable, if not essential, tool for pro-tweeters. They are a fantastic way of sorting the people you follow into easily recognisable categories, and for keeping track of important tweets.

Lists are especially helpful on pads and netbooks as they can streamline your Twitter watching and make it a little less confusing. They are also stupidly easy to set up, and you can have as many as you like.

To start with, go to your Twitter account on the web. You’ll need to create your lists directly from and not from whichever app you are using to manage it. Before you start I must warn you that this will take you a long time. So be prepared to spend a couple of hours on this.

Open up your list of followers and on the right of each name you’ll see an icon that looks like, well, a list. If you click on that you’ll be given the option to create a list. Create lists based on what you need i.e. family, skydiving etc.

Then go through your list of Following and allocated each person to their relevant list. As I mentioned earlier, it is painstaking and tedious, but once you’ve created your lists and allocated everyone you will have a far better Twitter experience. And you can instantly add people to lists as you go from this point onwards.

The lists you create can either be public or private. Sometimes it is best to keep a list private, especially if others will be offended that they are not included.

Now you have your lists you can add them as individual columns in your Twitter client. I use Tweetdeck, so I just add a column per list and can instantly see what’s going on with the different groups. It is very handy and has made it a lot easier to stay on top of what people are saying.

You can also find fantastic contacts by using other people’s lists. Visit Listorious for the top 140 lists on twitter, or the most listed people on twitter. Looking through these lists could well land you some excellent contacts.

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