One question I recently had from a few work colleagues was about the use of the NOT operator in Brandwatch dashboards, and how that differs from using Brandwatch lists.
If you’re already a Brandwatch user then you may be familiar with their lists: site lists, author lists, location lists. These help you group sites, authors and locations so you can later filter your data based on the lists you’ve curated. (You can find more info about it here.)
However, if you have a dashboard and you exclude authors via an author list or if you exclude them right in the query (using the author: operator), you’ll get the same result: you won’t see mentions from those people anywhere in your dashboard. The same applies when using the site: operator vs. filtering out site lists, and using the 5 location operators (city:, county:, state:, country:, continent:) vs. filtering out location lists.
I’ve seen a few Brandwatch users filtering lists out instead of using the NOT operator to exclude mentions, mainly when it comes to long lists of parameters (authors, locations or sites). For instance, if you have a really long list of authors, you can add them to a list which you can use to quickly filter their mentions out, instead of dumping all of those names in the query, especially if you don’t have enough space left in the query builder.
So, what’s essentially the difference between the two? Are there any advantages in using the custom operators rather than filtering out by lists?