Tag Archives: lists

Wunderlist – Public Lists

Are you a list maker? Me too. It’s gotten even worse since I discovered Wunderlist. This amazing platform allows me to indulge in my list fixation in ways I never though possible.

Wunderlist supports Windows and Mac desktops as well as iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. There’s a web-based version too. It costs nothing to get started, but upgrading to a premium account ($4.99/mo) adds some very useful features. The basic version does everything you’d expect from a to-do list:

  • maintain multiple lists
  • set due dates on list items
  • share the list with others
  • real-time data sync between devices
  • reminders and notifications
  • include notes on list items
  • supports sub-tasks

Wunderlist Desktop

But don’t just think of it as a to-do list service. It does a lot more. I use it a lot for capturing story ideas. Often those ideas come from an article in my newsreader. Using Wunderlist’s bookmarklet, all it takes is one click. I also keep a list of upcoming presentations with notes on what’s ready and what still needs to be done. My premium account lets me attach files to list items so I can include the presentation file and handouts in each presentation item. Wunderlist supports the iCalendar format so I can subscribe to my Wunderlist feed in my Calendar app and have my deadlines and due dates delivered to my calendar.

I’ve just begun experimenting with Wunderlists’ public lists. I’m still dusting the cobwebs out of the Gazette blog – cleaning up broken links and disappearing images as well as updating out-dated information. Rather than re-write the entire page about digital toolbox resources I decided to give public lists a try. It’s still a work-in-progress but you can take a look at it in action here.

Wunderlist public list

A public list has it’s own online physical location, but it can also be embedded like I did on the resource page. The list title is a link to that location. The list scrolls within the embed window. Notice the icon to the right of some list items? Click on it and additional information is displayed. In this example, I used the Notes field to add more descriptive information about a list item. Even more interesting . . . when I make changes to the list, the embed automatically updates. In a situation like this where things are constantly changing, it’s much easier to update the list than the blog post.

This is just one of the many reasons I am so attached to Wunderlist. If you’re looking for a list that does more, I suggest you take a look for yourself.

How to follow a Twitter list

We all know how well Twitter lets us keep up with friends and family, but did you know how useful Twitter is for news? Twitter lets users organize the people and organizations they follow into lists. These lists can then be used to create topic-specific news feeds. The @genBUZZ user offers several genealogy-related lists providing a sort of genealogy version of the Associated Press. The @genBUZZ lists let you follow (keep up with) specific topics that match your interests. For example, there’s a list for archives, another for old photographs and another for society news.

This is all well and good, but just how do you keep up with the topic of your choice? To do that you need to know how to follow a list.

View the list page of any Twitter user.

If you know the username for a person or organization, you can easily visit their list page using this URL: https://twitter.com/[username]/lists. So, https://twitter.com/genbuzz/lists will display the page you see above. Scroll through the lists and when you see one you find interesting, click on the list title to display its page.

From here you can see samples of the tweets being feed by this list as well as the Twitter users who make up the list. If this is a list you want to follow, just click on the Subscribe button and it’s added to your Twitter feed. You don’t have to follow a Twitter account to follow one or more of its lists.

While you can “read” the list in your favorite web-based twitter app, there’s a growing number of mobile device apps which will turn that 140 character tweet into a delightful reading experience. Probably the best of these is Flipboard [iOS & Android – free]. It supports Twitter lists as well as searches.  Once you have followed a list in your Twitter account, it appears in Flipboard under Accounts > Twitter > Lists You Follow. All you have to do is tap the list name to add it as a Flipboard content section.

A Genealogy Reading List

My love affair with Twitter continues as I find even more ways to put this deceptively simple service to use. Today it’s the reading list. The iPad is being tested at work and recently I was tasked with building a news service for our new iPad users. My first thought was to create a Twitter account and use it to find and tweet links to news articles from various sources. They could then follow that account on Flipboard and have the news they need on a beautiful, yet efficient, reading platform. While looking for useful Twitter accounts to follow, I stumbled onto one who had already created the ultimate reading service – using Twitter lists. It was a beautiful thing to see and, unlike the curated account I was planning, much easier to maintain. So, taking what I learned there, I’m building a genealogy reading list using Twitter lists.

Some of you may have noticed a genBUZZ Twitter account recently added as a follower. If you look at the account, you might think it’s a spammer. I created this account some time ago for a project that fizzled. As a result, I forgot I had it. I stumbled on it again and saw it was being abused (Twitter abuse – who knew?) so I quickly changed the password to stop that. At about the same time I had my Twitter reading list epiphany and decided this would be the perfect account for a genealogy reading list. So here we are in the construction phase of The Ultimate Genealogy Reader.

Step number one is complete. I’ve created several Twitter lists. There is the all-encompassing Genealogy list and several niche lists like Cemeteries, Research Techniques, The Archives and, of course, GeneaBloggers. Now I’m in the process of finding and following genealogy tweeple and adding them to the appropriate lists. I’m sure this will be an on-going process (more on that later).

Here is an example of the genBUZZ Genealogy list in its early stages as it appears in the Flipboard reader.

Genealogy Reading List on Flipboard

To follow a list, you first need to find them. Use Twitter’s search feature to look for topics that interest you – like “genealogy” – then follow interesting tweets to the submitter’s page on Twitter. The Lists command is visible on their page (even if you aren’t following their account) and when you click on it, a list of their lists is displayed.

Finding Lists

Following is a simple process. Select a list to display it and you’ll see a Follow this list button prominently displayed. Once again, you don’t have to be following the account to follow the list.

Following a List

When you follow a list, you will receive the tweets from every member of that list. If you’re already following someone who’s also a member of a list you are following, you won’t get duplicate tweets from that person. Even if you don’t have access to a reader like Flipboard, using lists in your preferred Twitter client gives you broader access to a growing number genealogy and news resources.

Now that you know what I’m up to, here’s what you can do to help. First – and most important – if you are blogging, make sure you are announcing each post on Twitter. [Find how-to help here.] You can follow @genBUZZ, then direct message me to include you on the list. If you have recommendations for niche categories, I’d like to hear them. Right now it’s all an experiment so things will be arranged and re-arranged until we find a nice comfort point. Even then it will always be changing as sources come and go.

I’m excited about this project. A growing number of developers are putting Twitter to work developing all kinds of interesting apps. I am looking forward to seeing more apps like Flipboard created for all platforms so everyone has access to a pleasant reading experience. As these apps come online, we genea-tweeple will be ready with a comprehensive list of great reading resources.

Happy Tweeting!