E-style

Crafting a Twitter List

There are a growing number of “publishing” platforms – including the Flipboard iPad app and the online newspaper platform at paper.li – that pull their content from a Twitter list. As a result, it’s becoming quite an art form to craft the perfect list for your purpose. And, while my news reader is still the best way to efficiently process a lot of information from a number of sources, I’m finding these alternatives a much more pleasurable reading experience. Now that I can enjoy them on my iPad from the comfort of my couch, I’ve been able to give my favorite bloggers the attention they deserve without feeling rushed.

Fortunately, most bloggers are now announcing their latest posts via Twitter. If you aren’t, you should. The easiest way to do this is to use a free service like Twitter Feed. With it, you can choose what is sent to Twitter (title or title and description, for example), which service to use to shorten the link and even add a hashtag to each announcement. Feedburner users can announce to Twitter using the Socialize option under the Publicize tab. It also offers plenty of options for customizing the announcement.

Now . . . on to build a Twitter reading list.

In my area, we have a growing number of blogs covering topics like local news, events, history and personal stories. Most are also announced on Twitter. By building a list to include these sources along with Twitter feeds for weather updates and traffic reports, I can build a custom magazine specific to my area. As I hear about other local groups or bloggers, I’ll check for a Twitter feed and add them to my list. I’m hoping that as we move closer to our city’s 450th birthday in 2015, others will add their voices – and Twitter feeds – to the mix and my custom Historic Coast magazine on Flipboard will become even more interesting.

I also have a list for the genea-tweeps I follow, but I’m considering breaking it down into multiple, more tightly defined, lists. I might separate societies and libraries into one list, the story-tellers into another and the how-to folks into a third. That would give me more reading choices and let me add outside sources (like including historical societies and digital libraries with the genealogy ones) to the mix.

I find I’m looking at my Twitter lists more for the reading experience they will provide than as an organizational tool. Twitter isn’t the only source for pulling content into these new reading platforms, but it’s still the most versatile. The result is a very pleasant reading experience customized to meet my interests. I’m liking that!

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