Controlling the “Knowledge Enrichment”

I’ve built up a collection of high quality Tweeps that I follow.

These are people that either have smart things to say, are giants in their industry, or add value to my life through sharing information that expands my knowledge or understanding of various areas. (For more of my thoughts on this, see my earlier post “Sorry – I don’t follow you“.)

Constant Flow

As happens, when you get input from all these people, there is a constant flow of information. I use Hootsuite as my tool of choice for “knowledge enrichment“. And to cope with the “knowledge enriching” stream, I turn off the auto refresh. This allows me to  scroll through the tweets at my own leisure, saving links that are important (Diigo for the “useful to have for future reference” links, and EverNote for the “plan to do something with this” links), or responding as appropriate.

However, there times when I am unable to look at my tweet stream for a long time. Hootsuite is good enough to show a message telling me that it’s missing x number of hours of messages. I have the option of displaying these, but then I often start participating in conversations that are already outdated, or have moved on to new topics, etc. And… after spending 10 minutes working through the old tweets, I end up skipping the rest and jump to the most current tweets.

So, this looks like a case of “Information Overload”, right. Well, Daniel Hudson, retweeted something the other day from Anthony Poncier that describes this a lot better:

I found that so valuable, I’m going to repeat it:

Information Overload is not a problem, it’s a filter failure

This reinforced something that I have been aware of for awhile. I need some way to filter the tweets that I am getting. In other words, I needed to create some Twitter lists. This would allow me to display the all the tweets grouped according to whatever category I wanted to use.

I created a number of lists, and started the process of adding the people I follow to that as I saw fit.

This was laborious. After adding four people, I gave up. It was taking too much time. I started looking for an easier way to add people to lists. A Google search didn’t seem to return precisely what I wanted. (Here also – not really a case of “Information Overload”, but a filter failure – my query obviously wasn’t specific enough.)

Solution Found

Another couple of weeks went past, during which I would half-heartedly try rephrasing my query hoping to find that “great tool”. I even posted a question on Twitter (more a plea), but heard nothing back.

Yesterday however, I discovered what I was looking for. It’s a site called Twitilist by Ben Gdovicak .

After giving it permission to connect to your account on Twitter, you are presented with a split screen. In the top screen, you see all your followers. It the bottom screen, your lists are displayed (as pages from a lined notepad.) Then you can drag each of the “followees” to the appropriate list, or lists. Precisely what I needed. It gave me an overview of my followers, and my lists, and allowed me to simply drag and drop.

Every now and then I needed to add a new list, which I did in Twitter. To refresh the lists displayed in Twitilist, I would go to the Home page, and then reconnect. The new list (or lists) would then appear. However, all the names that were showing in each list, were gone. Initially I though that I go through the whole process again. but then I noticed that if someone was already in a list, when you selected that person, the list would go opaque, and you couldn’t do anything more with it. (Notice, in the above screenshot, that the list “ECM”, at the bottom of the screen, is opaque. Christian Walker is already in that list.)

Now I can easily add people to my lists. If I am following you. Expect to be grouped, and categorised.

My Twitter Lists

  • Refectlion Blog 2: Filter Failure, Crap Detection, and Twitter Literacy (
  • The Fallacy of Information Overload (
  • Filter Failure (

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