Do you wish you could spend more time using social media to connect with colleagues, clients, or readers? Do you ever feel like trying is almost a waste of time because of all the noise? If so, here's a simple solution for you on Twitter.
Use the "Mute" feature.
Why Mute Twitter Accounts?
Twitter gives you a few different options for eliminating noise from users you already follow:
- Unfollow them (or don't follow them in the first place)
- Block them
- Mute them
You can also report someone for spam which will block them as well, but I'm assuming you wouldn't choose to follow spammers.
Until fairly recently, you would have to unfollow or block someone if you didn't want to receive their updates, even for a limited time. Why might you want to do that? Maybe someone is posting a lot in a Twitter chat and it's overwhelming your feed. Or maybe someone is going on some political rant that you don't want to be exposed to on a particular day. It can be annoying, but not necessarily bad enough to warrant unfollowing the account.
The problem with the old solutions is that the person could tell that you stopped following them. There are plenty of tools out there to let you know when people unfollow you (often used by follow spammers -- people who will only follow those who follow them, and if you unfollow them they immediately unfollow you -- kind of pathetic).
If you blocked someone they'd know because they wouldn't be able to follow your updates anymore either.
Neither is ideal for a temporary time out and you risk offending colleagues, friends, clients, or readers. With the mute feature, you can discreetly stop showing someone's updates in your main feed without having to block or unfollow their account.
How the Twitter Mute Feature Works
In the Twitter.com interface, you can mute Twitter accounts by clicking the gear icon on someone's profile page or the "more" icon (three dots) on one of their tweets. Choose the mute option. And then unmute them in the same way when you're ready.
Note: This stops a user's tweets from appearing in your main feed. But if they @mention you or direct message you, you'll still see those in your notifications and DM feeds.
You can also mute users in TweetDeck by going to your Settings screen and choosing the Mute tab. There, you can mute a user's account, tweets from specific sources (such as those coming from spammy apps), or keywords (great for muting hashtags which would let you ignore a Twitter chat conversation without muting a person's entire account).
Something else I love about TweetDeck is that fact that you can mute ("exclude") material from any particular column. That means you can also hide @mentions and even DMs from certain users when you want to, whether you're following them or not.
That can come in handy as a freelancer if you have a client who inappropriately tries to contact you on your personal social media accounts when they know you're off. Or it could be helpful to authors who are dealing with a reader hellbent on criticizing their latest book every chance they get. Better to mute it than let it provoke you into saying something you might regret.
Do you use Twitter's mute feature or the muting options in Tweetdeck? If so, how has it helped you sort through the noise so you can get more out of your time on the social network?
Jenn has 18 years experience writing for others, around 13 years experience in blogging, and over 10 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.
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