Shhhhh – Twitter offers the Sound of Silence with mute button
Back in December 2013, Facebook replaced their “Hide All” feature with an “unfollow” button. This small-but-crucial change allowed people to unsubscribe from updates from those ‘friends’ who upload endless amounts of photos, or who post a status update every time they sneeze. Not only did you not have to “unfriend” a big list of people, but it has probably saved quite a few friendships.
True to form, Twitter was quick to follow-suit and recently announced a “mute” option, which started to appear on mobile Twitter apps at the beginning of the month. We already had the option to turn off retweets from users, for those who retweet EVERYTHING, but the new mute gives people far more control over their newsfeed.
In a nutshell it’s ideal for all those people too polite to unfollow serial over-tweeters who never post anything interesting, allowing you to tailor it to what you want and don’t want to see.
Not only this, but if you follow people who have a particular interest that is about to go media crazy – for example the World Cup or Eurovision – you can mute them during the event so you don’t have to see the endless updates. Other reasons may include being too scared of the person to unfollow them or not wanting to read constant tweets from that friend you have who just rants about everything. Whatever your reason, it’s a great way to de-clutter your newsfeed without emptying your following list.
For those of you eager to try this new feature, simply go to the profile page of the person you’re too embarrassed to unfollow and click on the gear icon. You will see the option to ‘Mute’; click it. Don’t feel too much pressure when they ask you to confirm as you can unmute them at any time.
Users who you mute will still be able to follow you and interact with your content, for which you will still receive notifications; but their content will no longer be visible to you. It may even force users to evaluate their Twitter behaviour out of fear of being muted, which will be particularly relevant for brands.
Whilst the user themself can’t tell that you have muted them, you can be sure that Twitter will be taking a note of your ‘mute’ data – it’s entirely speculation, but it can’t be unreasonable to assume they might reduce the prominence of users who have a high mute ratio – maybe choosing to recommend them less in the ‘people to follow’ box, for instance.
Those who tweet too much or don’t share anything relevant may now be risking the visibility of all their content. With social following size becoming less and less important, this new feature makes the need for high quality, fresh content even more crucial.