As a mother of teenagers, I often learn new words that did not exist when I was younger. Did you know that if something ‘slaps’ it’s pretty amazing and if something is ‘cap’, it’s a lie? Neither did I. But recently, I stumbled upon a word that I didn't know existed but already had a place in my heart: listicle. A listicle is any piece of writing that is in list form and is my new favorite genre because I am a list-maker. I have to-do lists for each day of the week on Google Keep and even have a Radar list for things on the horizon. I keep grocery lists, packing lists, memory lists and more. So it made sense to me when I started shifting the way I used Twitter to include lists, too.

Twitter is an online social networking and micro-blogging platform where users send and read short posts up to 280 characters, or tweets. I love Twitter, but if I am completely honest, it can be overwhelming to keep up with the sheer amount of tweets posted on any given day. And I don’t want to miss any important tweets from those I follow, so I find myself logging onto Twitter far too often, usually wasting time scrolling through my feed. Until Twitter lists.

A Twitter list is a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can personally create your own lists or you can subscribe to those that others created, too. I’ve started using Twitter lists so I can manage the sheer amount of information in my feed and focus my attention on what matters most: the tweets of those that I follow for inspiration and to push my thinking. Here are just a few of the lists I’ve created:

  • Children’s Literature Authors: This list curates my treasured authors into one beautiful feed. With just one click, I can see what they’re up to, find new book titles for my TBR stack and usually, grab some writing inspiration, too.
  • Literacy Coaches: On this list, I’ve curated all of the literacy coaches that I’ve connected with on Twitter. I head here to see what they’ve been working on, what’s fueling their work and how I might learn from each of them.
  • Coaching Through COVID: This list curates some of my favorite people together: instructional coaches working to push the boundaries of their coaching through authentic use of digital tools and technology. One glance at this feed brings INSTANT inspiration.

I found so much success in managing Twitter with lists for my own professional use that I started bringing it into my work with teachers, too. And the beauty of it? Teachers do NOT need to have an account to view the lists and learn from them. They can simply click on the direct links to your lists, favorite them on their browser and visit them whenever they choose. Here’s how to get started:

Create the list. Click on the three dots on the left-hand side of your Twitter homepage and then click on the Lists icon (it actually looks like a list written on a piece of paper). Click on the plus sign on the top right of the page. Label your new list with a name and description. Here are a few lists you might create: favorite authors, mentor texts for writing, researchers to learn from, classroom accounts to learn from, faculty on Twitter to follow, accounts with helpful technology resources and more. Then, you can choose to make your list private. But if you do, that means your teachers will not be able to view your list.

Curate the list. You can search for accounts you want to add to your list or see which accounts are recommended from Twitter based on your user history. You can also add accounts from user homepages, too. Simply head to a specific account, click on the three dots and then add the user to your chosen list.

Share the list. Once your list is ready to share, click on the list, then click on the arrow at the top right of the screen and copy the direct link to the list. You can then send the list in an email, add it to your email signature, link to it on your website or embed it in an upcoming presentation. Remember, teachers do not need to have an account to browse, so EVERYONE can access your lists with a simple Internet connection.

Use the list. I love creating lists that perfectly capture the theme of a professional topic I’m exploring with teachers. Once I create the list, I link it to a QR code and then post the QR code for teachers to scan and scroll while they wait for the session to begin. It’s a great way to get teachers instantly hooked into the content of the session, see a wide range of perspectives on the topic and find other educators to connect and collaborate with, too. Other ways to use your lists? Share them with teachers as part of a coaching cycle or as a way to easily link teachers to helpful resources.

I hope I’ve piqued your interest in using Twitter lists for coaching. What ideas are you considering for your next Twitter list? Comment below or tag me on Twitter using @AffinitoLit!

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