Here are my Top 5 reasons to use Twitter lists for Genealogy and Family History and then a how to for creating or subscribing to a list.

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I’ve embedded a video tutorial you can watch if you prefer the visual helps.

If you’re following a lot of people on Twitter your timeline might get a bit crowded and it can be hard to glean what you really want from Twitter. This is where Twitter lists are helpful. A list is a specific group of Twitter accounts that you’ll follow on a separate timeline.

Reason #1 for using Twitter lists is lists allow you to organize your Twitter feed or timeline. You can have multiple timelines. I have 23 timelines in addition to my regular home timeline. I would never be able to productively follow all these people on one timeline.

Reason #2 for using Twitter lists is you don’t have to be following someone on your Twitter account to follow them on a list. I’ve created a military list where I’ve added people who might be useful in my research. There are 110 members and most of them I do not follow on my regular account. If I want to see what they’re tweeting about I come to my military list, look at the timeline, see if there’s anything pertinent to my work, then move on, all without having any of this crowd my primary newsfeed.

Reason #3 why you want to use Twitter lists is you can create a list for a specific genealogy line you’re researching. As you run across a resource on Twitter, you just add them to a list so you’ll be able to find them again. In this way, lists on Twitter are a lot like pinboards on pinterest. I’m pinning resources to specific lists. For example, I’ve created a Morphy ancestry list, I’ve kept it private, and I’ve added a couple of researchers to this list. They won’t be notified that I’m following them and I’ll only look at this list when I’m ready to do more research on this line.

Reason #4 why you want to use Twitter lists is you don’t have to make your own lists. You can subscribe to other people’s lists. (People can also subscribe to your public lists.) When I follow someone on Twitter, I look at their lists and see if they have any lists I want to subscribe to. You can unsubscribe from a list at any time. You can also see what lists you’ve been made a member of and this is helpful as well. has been added to four public lists. I can go to these public lists and see who the other members are and might find other people I’d like to follow.

Reason #5 why you should use Twitter lists is lists can be either public or private. If a list is public, members will be notified when you add them to your list. Anyone can subscribe and follow your list. And you can send the url for your list to others and allow them to subscribe to your list. If your list is private, you’ll see a padlock next to your list. No one will be notified when you add them to your list. You’ll be the only one who can use this list. Private lists are great if you’re a company and want to keep a list of your Twitter contacts or employee twitter accounts. And they’re great for individuals who want to follow certain users but not engage in conversation with them-like on my Morphy ancestry private list.

So, a quick how-to on lists: To create a Twitter list, click your profile picture/avatar in the top-right hand side of the screen and select “Lists.”

Then select “Create a new list” and put in a list name. If the list is just for my purposes, it doesn’t need a description but if I’m making the list to share with others I might want to put in a description so others will understand the benefits of this list. If the list is just for myself, I can keep it private. Twitter will put a padlock by my private lists. If I want to share it with others I’ll make it public. Again, if it’s public anyone can follow this list and they can access it through its URL.

To add someone to my Twitter list I can go to their profile page, or a list of followers, and click on the gear icon near their name. I’ll choose “Add or remove from lists” and then select which list I’d like to add them to. Now if I go to that list I can see the accounts I’ve added and I can go to the timeline for that list. I can delete a list at any time or change it to a private list.

You can subscribe to any public list by selecting “Lists” on someone’s profile page (not everyone has them) and then selecting the specific list you want to subscribe to and clicking the “Subscribe” button. Please feel free to subscribe to any of my lists and if you want to be added to a particular list, direct message me on Twitter and I’d be happy to add you: @OnGenealogy

Thanks for watching and if you haven’t already, please subscribe to my YouTube channel for more tips OnGenealogy.

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