Twitter is offering a way to turn off the “fire hose” of tweets – or at least turn it into more of a sprinkler.
The social media company announced Monday that it is rolling out a feature called “mute” for Android and iOS users that allows people to remove selected tweeters from their Twitter feeds without unfollowing them. This allows users to quiet tweeters temporarily, without going through the awkwardness of actually unfollowing.
“In the same way you can turn on device notifications so you never miss a Tweet from your favorite users, you can now mute users you’d like to hear from less,” wrote Twitter in a blog post Monday. “Muting a user on Twitter means their Tweets and Retweets will no longer be visible in your home timeline, and you will no longer receive push or SMS notifications from that user. The muted user will still be able to fave, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline. The muted user will not know that you’ve muted them, and of course you can unmute at any time.”
Here’s how it works. If you’re on the mobile app, head to the tweeter’s profile page and hit the little cog button to access settings. That will enable you to mute that user. Or, if you see a tweet that pushes you over the edge, hit “more” below the tweet and that will also offer you the mute option.
It’s a sort of half step between following a tweeter and the social media company’s “block” function, which prevents a user from following you or contacting you via Twitter.
The mute function is also similar to Facebook’s “hide from Timeline” feature, which allows users to remove friends from the constantly refreshing newsfeed, without de-friending them.
Does the whole “mute” option feel a little passive aggressive? The Guardian’s Samuel Gibbs suggests it offers an opportunity to apply some tough love to your Twitter list. Here is one of his humorous, albeit valid, reasons why you may want to mute someone.
I really like you but don't want to listen to you
Following people can be a sign of respect, friendship or even love, but you don’t always want to actually read the inane drivel or shouty-rants some people spit out into their Twitter streams.
Muting those people, as long as you're careful, should work fine. Just be sure to check their streams every now and again, in case they said something you need to respond to, and to keep up the illusion that you read their every word.
The social media site has been in the process of tweaking several parts of its service after a highly valued IPO last fall. Twitter also recently updated the look of user profiles last month to allow a more customizable look.