Twitter Introduces an 'I Can't Hear You' Button
Twitter has come up with a way for conflict-avoidance types to scrub undesirables out of their news feeds -- a mute button -- and the mutees will be none the wiser. They can go on tweeting, retweeting and eternally favoriting those who spurned them, as though living out their social relationships in their own private spam folder. Neither followed nor unfollowed, they're lost in Twitter Limbo.
05/13/14 10:55 AM PT
Twitter on Monday launched a new feature that allows users to mute others, giving people the power to silence fellow tweeters without having to unfollow them.
The feature is designed to give users more control over what pops up in their daily feeds. If someone mutes a follower, the muted user's tweets and retweets won't show up in the muter's feed, and notifications about that user's activity will not appear. The muted user would still be able to retweet, reply to or favorite the muter's Twitter activity, but none of that would appear in the muter's time line.
Users can mute and unmute other users at any time, and the muted users will never know.
The feature has begun rolling out and should be available to all PC and mobile users over the coming weeks.
Nicer Way to Give the Boot
The anonymity of muting is a feature that might appeal to Twitter users, said Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media. An unfollow could be perceived as harsh in the social media world, but a simple mute is a silent way to keep people silent.
"Twitter is a series of interlocking communities and in many of these communities, people very much pay attention to who follows them," Tobin told TechNewsWorld. "So, in a way, unfollowing is a noticeable act. It's a snub. But when you don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but their updates annoy you, the mute feature is a great idea."
It's about time for Twitter to allow a feature that a handful of other services, such as Tweetbot and Tweetdeck, have offered for a while now, said Pim Bilderbeek, partner and principal analyst at The Metisfiles.
"The mute button addition is Twitter catch-up," he told TechNewsWorld.
Staying True to Business
Now that social networking has become an indispensable part of many people's lives, it's time for Twitter to offer products that personalize and clean its daily news feeds, said Nipa Shah, president of Jenesys Group. The mute button and similar services are indications of that.
Twitter could focus on other ways to do that, though, without making a move that could compromise the back and forth that makes Twitter what it is.
"Twitter needs to focus on cleaning up spam and bots from Twitter," Shah told TechNewsWorld. "That's more of a problem than people you follow tweeting on and on. What people want from Twitter is more business and personal interaction, and it's possible that's not going to happen as much as I'd like to see it with this update."
It's a step in the right direction to want to help seasoned Twitter users get more out of their experience with the site, Tobin noted.
However, a company that depends on continued growth needs to make sure its updates don't weed out the users it wants or prevent new ones from coming on board, he cautioned.
"Adding this feature is a good idea for Twitter," said Tobin, "but they need to be careful they don't add a lot of confusion at a time when they are actively trying to make the service easier to use for new users."