by Grover Sanschagrin
Twitter Lists are a useful tool that lets you group the Twitter users you follow into convenient categories. This makes the concept of Twitter more organized and productive, which is a very good thing for your social media efforts.
Twitter Lists also let you search and subscribe to other users’ lists*. Since I am primarily interested in the business and marketing of photography but don’t have the time to build or maintain my own list on such a wide-ranging topic, I can let others play Twitter List curator for me.
*Twitter tip: You don’t have to follow a user to follow their list, or add them to yours.
Being included on a well-read Twitter List can help a photographer define his/her specialty, build followers and contribute to their individual “brand.” In return, if a photographer can assemble a good list and that list becomes popular, they can gain exposure for their own Tweets* and potentially gain new followers.
*Twitter tip: @mention a Twitter List like you would any Twitter user, just include username, forward slash “/” list name: @<username>/<listname>
So, what are the elements of a good Twitter List?
First, it should be based on a well-defined, easy-to-understand theme. Making a list of “Photographers I Like” doesn’t tell people what it’s about, and won’t likely match what someone might actually be looking for in a Twitter Search. But if you created a list on a theme like “Photo Business Advice”, and filled it with well-known experts in the business of photography, it becomes much more useful, focused and easily understood.
Second, edit carefully. Who you add to this list says a lot about you – so don’t put people on a list unless they regularly supply high quality, relevant information on the topic.
Third, continue to update the list. Add new people when you find them, and remove people who have stopped being productive contributors. Don’t just set up the list and forget about it. Use the list yourself, monitor what’s going on, and make adjustments as needed.
And fourth, choose a specialty that you know the most about, and focus on that. Don’t put together a ton of lists on topics you don’t know that much about. Quality is much better than quantity here, and people will respect you for it.
Ten Twitter Lists All Photographers Should Follow
1.) The Future of Media
“Folks thinking and exploring how the media will change.”
Andrew DeVigal is a guy worth following in your main feed all by himself. He’s really plugged in and connected to the online media and publishing scene. Andrew is Multimedia Editor at the New York Times – and he knows practically everyone.
He has several lists that are really great this is an awesome list from Andrew. Reading this one is like looking into an online crystal ball focused on the media business.
People on this list include some very smart, forward-thinking people: Jeff Jarvis; Andrew Nystrom; Jason Fried; Dan Gillmore; Tom Kennedy; Nieman Lab; Dave Winer; Malcolm Gladwell; Ken Doctor; Owen Youngman; Craig Newmark; and JD Lasica.
2.) Multimedia Makers
This one is also from Andrew DeVigal, and it’s essential reading for anyone interested in producing multimedia content. But be warned, this chatter in this list could very well steal hours of your day because links to really inspiring multimedia content are flying around like crazy.
Some of the highly respected people on his list include: Vincent Laforet; Trent Nelson; Brian Storm; Tom Kennedy; Joe Weiss; Kenny Irby; Ami Vitale; Seth Gitner; Bob Sacha; and Zach Wise.
3.) Photographic Organizations
David Sanger has several very useful lists, this one is especially helpful. Keeping up with the events and announcements of these groups is much easier because of this list. I think it’s important to keep up with what’s going on with the industry trade organizations, and to participate actively so that you’re speaking up for your own best interests.
He’s done a good job getting them all together in one list.
Some of the organizations on this list include: APA New York & San Diego; NAPP; NPPA; WHNPA; PPA; NANPA; NAPP; ASMP; and Editorial Photographers.
4.) Photography and the Law
Here’s another list from David Sanger. I find this really fascinating and enlightening to read. It is packed with copyright and intellectual property chatter. I cruise through this list just so I can see what’s happening with the law as it applies to the creative industry.
5.) Photo Business Advice
“Marketing, advertising, smart web stuff… ” is what this list is all about. It’s put together by Dragon-Fly Studio, and it’s a good idea for a list. Here, you’ll find a lot of good photo-related business tweets that may spark some ideas for the running of your own business.
This lists currently follows 24 Twitter accounts, including: Michael Zhang; David Hobby; Photopreneur; and John Harrington.
6.) Photography Industry Blogs
This list is maintained by El Raim. It’s a convenient place to go to get a sense for what’s buzzing about on the blogs of the photo biz.
This list includes: APhotoEditor; TheClick; Nikon; Magnum Photos; DPReview; NikonRumors; The Photo Argus; and our very own PhotoShelter Blog!
7.) Newspaper Photo Departments
This list is maintained by Gerik Parmele, a newspaper Photo Editor and Photojournalist at the Daily Tribune in Columbia, Missouri. It’s a great list that lets you keep up on what’s happening with the photo staffs of the most influential newspapers.
The list currently includes are the photo staff of: The New York Times; Denver Post; San Jose Mercury News; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Boston Globe; The Detroit Free Press; and The Sacramento Bee.
8.) Stock Photography Business
“List of stock photographers who blog about their business.”
If you’re interested in what’s happening within the Stock Photography industry, subscribe to this list. It follows some really smart people, and you’ll learn a lot real quick.
Some of the people on this list include: David Sanger; Tyler Olson; Lee Torrens;
John Lund; and Jack Hollingsworth.
9.) Photo Educators
“Photo muse, educators, mentors, inspirations.”
Blogger Wendy Blomseth has put this list together, and it follows the accounts of those who make share their knowledge as educators and mentors.
Some of the people on this list include: Scott Kelby; Joe McNally; Rob Haggart (APhotoEditor); and Peter Pereira.
10.) PhotoShelter Users
This is a list I put together so I could tune into what PhotoShelter users are saying. I created it just for me, really, but 87 people are following it too! I like this list because it has a nice fun energy that’s sort of unpredictable, yet everyone has something to do with the photo community.
Visit Twitter Support for more tips on getting started with Twitter Lists.
Twitter Lists and other social media topics are covered in PhotoShelter’s free “Social Media for Photographers,” a 55-page report available for download in PDF format.
This comprehensive guide covers the ground rules every photographer should know about using social media, choosing where to participate, smart strategies to foster conversation, tips to increase social sharing and generate quality links, measurement, and tools that can help achieve maximum results.
Grover Sanschagrin is co-founder and Vice President of PhotoShelter. Follow him on Twitter at @heygrover.