Twitter Lists: How Others Define You

February 13, 2012

One benefit of social media is the ability to see how others view your organization without having to send out a survey. To figure out how Twitter users view your organization, you can use Twitter lists.

Go to your Twitter profile and click on the 'Lists' link on the left sidebar. All the lists you follow appear. At the top of these lists are two small links 'Subscribed to' and 'Member of'. Click on 'Member of'. If you have a substantial number of Twitter followers, you are more likely to be grouped with other tweeters in a list created by one of these followers. By viewing the names of these lists, you can get a sense of how people group and identify your organization.

Case Study: @MITnews

I took all the words tweeters use in the names of their Twitter lists that include @MITnews and made a word cloud on Wordle (see below). The bigger the word appears in this image, the more that word is used in Twitter list names. I found that science and technology are most used, followed by university, news, and education. Followers also use words such as college, research, innovation, academia, and media in the names of their lists that include @MITnews. 


So now, what to do with this information? Well, if the words others use to define you reflect exactly what your organization is all about, then you're doing well. However, if there are some important words that don't show up enough or don't show up at all, post more content that will help followers see that word as one of your defining characteristics.

Note: I translated words in other languages to their English counterparts (tecnologĂ­a & technology = technology)I grouped singular and plural forms of words under the singular (universities & university = university). I used the whole word when words were truncated (sci = science).

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Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Former MIT Social Media Strategist

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