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Muting for a happier Twitter

Everyone can talk about what they want, but I don’t have to listen to it. This is true in life and it’s true on Twitter. I interact with the service through Tweetbot on my iPhone and Tweetdeck in Chrome on the desktop (Mac and Windows).

When I’m on my phone, I want to dip my toe into the Tweetstream so I mute what detracts from my experience there.

When I am on a computer, I have more time and attention to pay to Twitter. Due to this, I have very few mute filters in Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck Mute Filters

In fact, as of today, I only have three things muted.
– Muting “sponsor”
– Muting “clickhole”
– Muting “gamergate”

I don’t remember when I muted clickhole, but it was probably at a time when a lot of people were tweeting them. I tend to mute the Topic of the Day™. Though I mostly do that on Tweetbot.

I muted sponsor because I don’t need to see what you’re sponsoring. I’ll see it on your site, in your RSS feed. I don’t need to see it on Twitter too. And if I miss a tweet with the word sponsor in it, then it’s not a big enough loss to worry about. Life will go on.

Gamergate was the latest addition. I didn’t choose the #gamergate hashtag, nor GG. I chose the word because it got rid of most of the people talking about it endlessly. Yes, it’s my white privilege. Yes, I know I have the power to walk away from it and people are still hurting. But nothing I do will affect that either way, so I filter it out.

But what about Tweetbot?

Tweetbot is where I stick my toe into the ebb and flow of Twitter. I don’t want to engage in everything. I want to see if there’s anything new to read or answer people who’ve replied to me.

I don’t mute any users. None of you have raised that level of ire with me, yet.

There are a few keywords I mute. They do the heavy-lifting in reducing the noise to let the signal come through.

Game of Thrones no more

First, I mute Game of Thrones. I don’t watch the show. I don’t read the books. I don’t care about the series. So I don’t need to see everyone making jokes I don’t understand nor talking about the show.

I would add Doctor Who and Mad Men to this list as well, but those are vague enough terms, I don’t want to block those. And people just don’t talk about them as much.

Last Retweet (that I didn’t see anyway.)

Next, I mute LRT. I recently had to ask what this meant and learned it was Last Retweet. I don’t care to read your explanation about your last retweet.

This is because I’ve turned off retweets for most of the people I follow. There are a few people I care enough about to read everything they share. (You do know you can turn off retweets, right? Click the gear icon on the user’s page on Twitter.com or in Tweetbot, and select Turn off Retweets.

Turning off retweets is the single best thing you can do to quiet noisier users.

This next filter comes from @sweatingcommas. I wanted to know how I could mute the replies in my main stream in Tweetbot.

While I do enjoy the conversations in Twitter when I’m on the desktop, I don’t want to see the replies go back-and-forth forever when I am on the phone.

^@ mutes replies

By muting ^@ it mutes everything starting with @ as the first character of a tweet. This keeps my main stream in Tweetbot to only the top-level tweets. I see my replies in the reply thread and if I want to see who replies to something, then I can swipe to follow the thread.

Muting replies is the second best thing I’ve done to boost signal to noise.

Any clients on the mute list?

Just one. Foursquare earned its place on the mute list years ago. I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing. I use Foursquare/Swarm fairly often but I don’t need to share that with Twitter.

#Hashtags

I ignore hashtags for the most part. I will often mute a hashtag for seven days when it’s linked to a TV show. When a TV shows asks people to vote on something, or enter a contest with a hashtag I mute it for a week. By that time, it’s usually gone in a week.

The only temporary mute I have still on my list is #AddFishToSciFi, which has three days left. I don’t need to see 50 tweets about it.

Also on the mute list is:
– #BWENY
– #depressingsitcoms
– #eurovision
– #GetGlue
– #OveheardAisha
– XPNLOTL

I can’t even tell you what most of these are, or how long ago they were things. But they annoyed me enough to mute.

Make Twitter What You Want It To Be

I’ve long enjoyed Twitter since it can be whatever you want it to be. I always found it fascinating no two people’s Twitter’s look alike. It can be whatever you want it to be, and with a little work, it’s easy to remove a lot of noise and boost the signal that makes Twitter so valuable.

There are other people doing good work on the Tweetbot muting front.

Other Resources?

An excellent resource is from SilencedBots

It will mute things like jargon, SXSW, Celebrities, Spam, Hot Topics and other things.

It’s also possible to share your Tweetbot filters.

So go forth and make Twitter a better place to be. A happier, more sane place where you enjoy hanging out and not stressing out.

Hat tip to amazing photographer and writer Josh Ginter for the inspiration to write this post.

Published inObservations