“Mute” is a Twitter feature that allows you to hide someone’s tweets from your home timeline.
Such muted users will not know that you muted them. They can follow you, send you direct messages, and interact with your content. Their replies and mentions still appear in your Notification tab.
The first impression is that this new feature is a very useful one, isn’t it?
Some bloggers quickly posted happily the great news. The Guardian even posted 13 reasons to mute people on Twitter.
According to The Guardian, “While blocking […] or simply unfollowing are probably more useful for most people when dealing with abuse or people they don’t want to see in their timeline, there are some scenarios where muting is the best way to go.” (Note: The underlining belongs to me. Keep reading and you’ll see my point.)
Here’s one of their scenarios:
It makes sense, doesn’t it? But … wait! Let me ask you several questions…
The mute feature isn’t rolled out to everyone yet. Actually chances are that you can’t mute followers yet unless you use third party tools. So how are you using Twitter right now?
Most probably you follow hundreds or thousands of people. Isn’t that so? Your home timeline displays hundreds of tweets and each minute more tweets are added. Do you read all these tweets?
It’s impossible to read them all, isn’t it? I guess that you read only some of these tweets. Which ones? Randomly?
Reading random tweets looks like noob-style. You don’t read them like that, do you? Here’s what I do…
For example, a few days ago I set up the public list Thank You 4 Your Retweet. The name of the list is self-explanatory ;-)
You’re not on this list or another private one? Sorry, I won’t read your tweets.
At the same time, if someone already added to my lists changes their style and becomes annoying, within seconds I can “mute” that person… I remove them from the lists.
So… do I need the mute feature? Nope. If you really understand how to properly use Twitter, you don’t need that feature. It’s pretty much useless.
What if you landed on Twitter yesterday, or what if you haven’t fully understood how to properly use Twitter by now? In that case, most probably you don’t use any list.
Will you start muting tens, hundreds of people? If you think twice, you’ll notice that you’re wasting your time… Out of hundreds or thousands or people you follow, usually the number of people really engaging or posting interesting content are fewer than the rest.
Do the math! It’s easier to add interesting people on a list than to mute hundreds of people. Forget about the mute feature!
If you don’t want to unfollow some of your tweeps, in any scenario muting is NOT the best way to go. The lists are more powerful. You can mute anyone at any time by removing that person from the lists, and in addition the lists help you sort the people whose content you decided that it’s worth reading.
To Your Twitter Success!
P.S. If you’re wondering who needs the mute feature after all and why did Twitter decide to roll it out, the explanation is simple… For one reason or another, there will always be Twitter users who don’t use lists. The mute feature could help them.