Earlier this month, Twitter announced a new feature that means anyone who is too scared to unfollow an annoying friend can breathe a sigh of relief. Introducing: the mute button.
Kind of a halfway house between unfollowing and following, the mute button allows you to turn of tweets from specific users. As Twitter explains, ‘The muted user will not know that you’ve muted him/her, and of course you can unmute at any time’.
There have been questions raised about how useful the button really is; after all, if you can’t stand seeing a user’s tweets so much, why not just unfollow them? Well, for starters, you might not want them to know you have unfollowed their account, either because they may do the same to you, or you may be a sissy who likes to avoid all confrontation (like me).
But, there is so much more to the mute button than that! For those of you who are still not convinced, here are my top three reasons to use it for your personal or branded accounts:
1. You need to follow them, but you don’t need to read their tweets
For branded accounts this can often be a problem. You may follow a lot of loyal customers on Twitter, who appreciate the sentiment of being followed by their favourite brand, however, most of their tweets are not going to be useful or informative for you. Here the mute button is helpful for keeping your timeline full of relevant content, without alienating your fans – they will always @ mention or direct message you if they need your specific attention.
2. You like their tweets, but not the influx coming in right now about that sporting event/conference/ break-up.
The reason you follow a lot of people will be because you genuinely find their tweets interesting and valuable, but there are times when everyone gets a little too ‘Twitter happy’ and their ATPM (average tweets per minute) shoots up to 103. This can happen at work, when you feel the need to live tweet Prime Minister’s Question Time, or around a sporting event (like, oh I don’t know… the World Cup), or even when you’ve been dumped and the only way to ease your pain is to share it with the world (note: it’s not, please don’t do that). For times like these, the mute button is gold! Oh, I see you’re enjoying Eurovision. MUTE. What’s that? You’re angry with Matt for kissing Tulisa? MUTE. You get the picture.
3. You want to avoid the spoilers
Do you watch Game of Thrones? I don’t. However, one day I would like to, so the mute button will come in handy when the most recent episode is on as it means I can hide all the friends I know who will be ludicrously screaming, ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE JOFFREY KILLED THE DRAGON LADY’ or whatever the heck has just happened in Season 23. Sadly, you can’t mute the rest of the internet, so for now we must tread carefully.
What are you going to use the mute button for?