Want to know the secret to following 7077 people on Twitter?

I love Twitter! I’ve been using Twitter since 2006, back when everything you said got a response from someone, and there were no automated direct messages, and no spammers trying to get you to click their links and buy their junk.

Over the past few years, a lot of people have started following me. A lot of interesting people have started following me. Many of these are people who add value to my life, and thus to the lives of my readers. And many new interesting people have joined Twitter, so I’ve started following them. I used to think I couldn’t follow them all, so I kept my follower count down low. Has that ever happened to you, where you’ve felt you couldn’t possibly follow even 1 more person, or you’d never be able to keep up with it all?

I’ve got a secret for you: You can’t! That’s right – you can’t! You can’t possibly keep up with 2000, 5000, or 7077 people on Twitter.

At least not without help.

No, I’m not saying hire a virtual assistant to read you your Tweets. I am saying you need a better system for using Twitter. And it starts right here.

Getting Started Following 7077 People on Twitter

Before you begin, write down or type up a list of all the types of people you want to connect with on Twitter. My people include Milwaukee people, Chicago people, social media people, authors, speakers, and small business owners, to name a few. It’s important you make this list FIRST, and you’ll see why in a moment.

Next, go to Twitter.com and create some Twitter lists for these buckets. You’ll find the lists feature underneath the gear in the upper right corner of Twitter.com.

twitter listsOnce you click the Lists link, you’ll see a screen that says Create List. Make a list for each of these lists. It’s up to you whether you make the lists public or private.

creating twitter listsNow every time you follow someone new on Twitter, think about why you’re following them. Do they fit into one of these lists? If not, take a deep breath and ask yourself “Why am I following this person?” If they’re a truly interesting person who deserves to be followed, create a new Twitter list called Interesting People and add them there.

Then, when you have time on a snowy Sunday afternoon when nothing else is going on, go back and fit all the people you’re already following into one of these Twitter lists.

Just adding people to a Twitter List is not enough

Good work! Now you’ve created your lists. Now what?

Every time you use Twitter, limit yourself to looking at only the list you wanted to look at. Set a timer for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever time you have, and get your work done. Don’t let yourself drift off into “playing” on Twitter when you have other work to do. Focus your attention on the one bucket, and work on that and only that bucket for the time you have. Repeat as needed for the other buckets so they all get your attention.

One last thing about Twitter lists

Remember ¬†that bucket of interesting people you just HAD to create? After 30 days, try to think about how many times you’ve actually looked at that bucket. Was it often enough that you need to keep that list? Was it profitable for you, or did it provide the break you needed to be even more productive? Or was it just a time suck, a distraction from doing your real work?

So that’s the secret to following 7077 people on Twitter. Create some Twitter lists. Add everyone you follow to the lists. Be disciplined enough to only look at those lists.

What’s YOUR secret for using Twitter? Please leave a comment below!