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Using Twitter lists is a great way to keep your Twitter feed organized and stay up-to-date on your favorite news. They can even replace your RSS feed! But if you’re following hundreds or thousands of people on Twitter, even your lists can be a bit much to handle. Fortunately, you have a number of free options when it comes to managing your lists. We set out to compare them and find the best Twitter list manager of them all.
If all you want to do is see which users are in your lists, edit those lists, and create new ones, Twitlist Manager is perfect. After signing in using your Twitter account, you’ll see what amounts to a giant spreadsheet, with lists as columns and the people you follow as rows. If the box in a column is checked, that particular user is a member of that list. Check a box to add a user to a list, un-check a box to remove the user from the list. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
One of the features that I find most useful—and that I desperately wish more services offered—is that follows are color-coded: if someone that you follow is in a list, their name is displayed in black. If they’re not in any of your lists, the name is displayed in orange. You can also hide all of the people that are on lists by clicking “toggle unlisted friends” at the top of the screen.
While this simple system is plenty useful, it’s annoying that when you scroll down to see more users, the names of your lists get moved off the top of the screen. Unless you can remember the names of all of your lists in order, you’re going to have to scroll back up to get a reminder. The app also lacks any sort of batch processing.
It’s really simple, but if you just want to manage your lists without following, unfollowing, or muting other Twitter users, Twitlist Manager is tough to beat. Don’t forget to press the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen when you’re done!
Unlike most other Twitter apps, icotile is image-based, and is very light on text. The people you follow, your followers, and the members of all of your lists are represented by small tiles that show their profile picture. This is a cool way to view your Twitter account, but it can be a bit difficult at times—if you know anyone who regularly changes their profile picture, especially to things that aren’t portraits of them, you’ll understand why.
Even with this slight difficulty, the drag-and-drop format of icotile is pretty cool. To add a user to a list, all you have to do is drag their tile to the list in the sidebar. To remove someone from a list, just click on their tile and click the x in the top-right corner.
One advantage that icotile has over Twitlist is that you can use it to view all of the people who are following you, which can be useful, especially if you’re using Twitter for a business. From the Followers view, you can follow people by clicking on the Follow button on the expanded view in the right sidebar.
This expanded view is another advantage of icotile—in addition to reviewing and editing your lists, icotile makes it easy to follow and unfollow other users (though silencing annoying Twitter users might be better than unfollowing).
Claiming to be “the most powerful way to create and manage your Twitter lists,” TweetBe.at sets the bar high. And at first glance, it looks to be a strong contender for the best Twitter list management tool—the interface is really nice, and there are tons of features, liked filtered user search, and some interesting information about your follows, such as the percentage of their followers that they follow back.
Where TweetBe.at really shines is in its user analysis features—if you click on a profile, you’ll see a list of their recent mentions, as well as a breakdown of where they tweet from (Instagram, web, iOS, Android, and so on) and what types of tweets they send (links, statuses, replies, retweets).
Unfortunately, it falls a bit short on the list management side. For example, you can see in the image above that each user has a label indicating the list that they belong to. Nice, right? It would be, except that these labels don’t show up automatically—you have to go into each list and click “Load All” for those labels to show up. Even if you don’t have many lists, this is just too many clicks to be convenient.
TweetBe.at offers a pro version for $14.99 for three months (you can also tweet about the service to get a free 3-day trial of the pro version). And while there’s no indication anywhere on the site of what that unlocks, I’ve discovered a few features that aren’t available to free users. As a pro user, you can send tweets from within the app from the Accounts tab. You can also get some stats that don’t seem to be available to free users; for example, the number of hours since your last mention and tweet. Plus, you can connect multiple accounts.
Twitter lists are really valuable tools and there are a lot of cool ways to use Twitter lists, but they can be difficult to manage. All of the above apps will help you look at, analyze, and manage your lists. So which is best? In the end, simplicity and efficiency won out over longer feature lists.
Despite its extremely simple user interface, Twitlist Manager was the standout of these three. icotile’s tile system is cool, but requires a little bit more thought to remember which account belongs with which picture. And TweetBe.at’s high number of clicks to accomplish the most basic of list management tasks makes it an inefficient contender. It does, however, provide some pretty interesting statistics, meaning it could serve as a good supplement to Twitlist.
Do you use any of these Twitter list managers? Or do you have other recommendations? Share your thoughts below!