Muted on Twitter

Twitter’s Mute Feature: Useful or Useless?

Muted on Twitter

“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:

Excerpt from The Guardian, 13 May 2014

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…

I never read any tweet from my home timeline. Ever!
I use a feature more powerful than Mute: the lists. Private and public lists.

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!
Adrian Jock

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.

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13 thoughts on “Twitter’s Mute Feature: Useful or Useless?

  1. I do use lists Adrian but I also use the search function on Twitter quite a lot to find out where the conversations are going on that I can join.

    I started using Meshfire a while ago and it’s really helped me with engagement.

    Your Tweet about this post was suggested to me as something I might be of interest in fact.

    At the moment I don’t plan on using the mute feature but I will carry on using Meshfire for definite. It’s completely changed the way I use Twitter.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’ve noticed a visit from a Meshfire account. So … it was you! :) Honestly I’ve never heard of Meshfire. I’ll take a look!

  3. Hi Adrian,

    I absolutely agree with you that using lists on Twitter is the better way to go. It is much easier to sort people into various interest groups and check those regularly than muting all those people you are not interested in what they have to say.

    But to say truth, the much better way would be to just not follow those people in the beginning, or when they change their style and behaviour to simply unfollow them.

    Cheers,
    Torsten

  4. Hi Torsten,

    Thank you for your comment. Regarding the last paragraph from your comment:

    I’m not very sure that I agree with you. It is true that I don’t follow back everyone who follows me. I don’t follow back bots, spammers, users who sell followers, etc.

    However, here’s one of my rules… Unfollow me and I’ll unfollow you irrespective of how great your content is. Therefore… here’s my question…

    What do you gain by unfollowing me? :-)

    If you unfollow me, for sure I will unfollow you and I won’t read your tweets. If you don’t unfollow me, I may or may not read your tweets. What case is the best for you? ;-)

  5. Hi again,

    I agree with you that it would be better for me to just not read your tweets rather than to unfollow you.

    But I think in the end also Twitter is all about building relationships. And such relationships can’t be built just from one side.

    If I only want to push my own stuff in front of as many eyeballs as possible, than just not to read other people’s stuff surely is the way to go.

    But if I want to build relationships with like-minded people to help and support each other then I still think the way of simply unfollowing those people I am not interested in and communicating with the others is the better way. :)

  6. Hmm… I think that our disagreement comes from different approaches. You think like a social media guy, I think like a seller.

    Here’s an example… even if someone is dumb and I’m not interested in reading what he posts on Twitter, that person may still be a potential customer. I don’t sell my stuff only to smart guys :)

    Or… John Doe tweets about weight loss. I’m not interested in any way in that topic. However, sometime in the future John Doe may want to learn about solo ads and may buy my Ultimate Guide to Solo Ads. If I unfollow John now, maybe he’ll do the same and he’ll forget about me and my stuff.

    As for building relationships… I suggest that you read my Do People Really Buy From Sellers They Know and Trust? It doesn’t include assumptions. It reveals my experience… :-)

    Finally, I’m not trying to convince you of anything. If we disagree, there’s nothing wrong. I’m not in your shoes and you’re not in mine :-)

  7. The mute feature actually mimic the Facebook “Hide [friend’s name] from my timeline” feature. When someone keep posting unnecessary or simply said, rubbish stuff on FB I usually wont unfriend them since I don’t want them to think bad about me unfollowing them. It’s just better to hide their update from my timeline to keep the good relationships, both parties win.

  8. Great insights Adrian as usual and I completely agree with you.
    You simply mean business and what you said (even in some of your comments) makes sense to me.

    It is not wise to engage in “unfollow” and “mute” practices. The easy way out is, manage your own list and be happy. I didn’t do that in the beginning. But, I did start building some lists and a few search queries and I think it has given me a better control on my Twitter experience.

    I do not need muting and unfollowing business. It’s too time consuming and time is something we all lack, don’t we?

    Have a great weekend now that it’s almost there :-)

    Cheers!
    Kumar

  9. Hi Kumar,

    Thank you for your comment :-)

    Some people blame the lack of time for their failures. As if my day is different and it has more than 24 hours. As if I don’t have a family to take care of. As if I don’t have a life outside the internet. As if… etc…

    Lame excuse. Time management is very important. To some people, this comment may not look related to the Mute feature. But it is very much related :-)

  10. Hi Adrian,

    I agree that list are an better option for sure. I don’t know about the mute thing on Twitter. I enjoy it on Google+ though but there people can spam you. Twitter I choose to follow you and can just as easily unfollow you for spam etc.

    Nice write up Adrian. Have a great weekend.

  11. Hi Steven,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Things are a little bit different on Google+. After someone circles you, irrespective whether you circle that person back or not, they can share different things with you… You’ll get annoying notifications. Since you can’t uncircle someone you don’t follow, mute is an useful option in such a situation.

    A great weekend to you too!

  12. In theory, you should only be following people you want to follow so why should you need to mute them? If you don’t care what someone says why are you following them?

  13. Lewis, that’s theory. You know that practice is different, don’t you?

    Many marketers follow tons of people. There’s no way for them to read what all these people tweet. Just one example: Guy Kawasaki follows over 100K tweeps ;-) There are many other examples.

    Why should someone follow another one if the first one doesn’t care what the second says? There are multiple reasons. This comment posted earlier on this page reveals two such reasons ;-)

Comments are closed.