Well, all know that one guy. You know, there’s that one with too much time on his hands. It’s that one that tweets about every little part of their day or last night’s Game of Thrones spoilers. Let’s be honest, those tweets are a little more excessive and annoying than informative or entertaining. Well, now there’s a way to keep those guys quiet.
Reports say that users are beginning to see a “mute” button on their Android and iOS Twitter apps. The button allows users to follow others without actually seeing their tweets or retweets on your feed. How’s it different from unfollowing? When you mute a user, you can still send and receive direct messages with that user, as well as notifications through tagging. You can also unmute those users at any time.
Since Twitter is known to put new features to the test, it’s unknown if the mute button will stick and become available to everyone.
In September 2013, Alex Roetter, vice president of engineering, talked about Twitter’s increase in testing. “A common thread across recent releases has been experimentation. We’ve tested various features with small groups of our 200 million users before determining what we’ll release. These tests are essential to delivering the best possible user experience.”
He also addressed the volatility of this testing. “We also experiment with features that may never be released to everyone who uses Twitter. Those experiments are perhaps even more valuable because they help us decide what not to do –– which is important as we work to keep Twitter simple while improving the user experience. Ultimately, our goal is to learn and keep making the product better; we aren’t necessarily looking to launch all of the experiments we roll out.” So, it’s possible that only a handful of users might ever see the mute button if it is only for test purposes.
However, this feature would be useful in situations where you are required to reluctantly follow certain users, perhaps for professional reasons. While it would be necessary to stay connected with them, you might not be so keen on what they’ve to tweet. Thus, the mute button becomes the perfect tool.
The mute tool also follows Twitter’s decision in December to reverse their policy on blocking users, allowing blocked users to still see your tweets and follow you. Backlash from critics immediately led to Twitter reverting to their old policy. Twitter has also been experimenting with removing the @ from tweets, which has also gotten some criticism from core users.
Mute buttons, though new to the first party Twitter app, can already be found in numerous third party apps such as Tweetdeck and Tweetbot. Facebook also uses similar methods, letting users unfollow certain others, removing their posts from the news feed.