Twitter has a problem with noise.
That’s right, I said it. Somebody had to say it. It needed to be said. But, of course, this is hardly a revelation. Twitter has always had a problem with noise, even back when it was just nine people and Stephen Fry. Nobody can possibly please everybody all of the time, and there are occasions when even your biggest fan has had just about enough of you… for that day.
But what’s the solution?
You want some examples? Okay. What about those times when your favourite journalists, bloggers and pundits will go away on personal leave for a week or two, but continue updating their Twitter stream with location photos and menu reviews. Or maybe your friends will be at a baseball game. Or clients will be live-tweeting a conference or event in which you have absolutely no interest. Or your favourite celebrity is listening to lots of (awful) music on Spotify and excitedly sharing playlists. Or when everyone you know is manically chatting about every single scene during a TV marathon of a show you haven’t even heard of.
You don’t want to unfollow. Blocking this individual would be total overkill. You like them, you like the things that they are usually writing about, and you don’t want to let them go. Most of the time, they’re great. But right now, they’re annoying the hell of you. And cluttering up your stream with their crap.
What you need is a mute button. And every user should come with one.
Click on this, and Twitter pops up a little window that gives you some options: mute this person for X hours (your choice), mute for the rest of the day or mute until this day.
Problem solved. Now, they’re happily chatting away about whatever, but you don’t have to hear it. They’re completely unaware that you’ve muted them, and if they send you a reply or direct message it still hits your respective inboxes accordingly. You just don’t see the public stuff.
Once the mute has finished, and they’ve done their time in the sin bin, they pop back into your stream, life moves on, and the relationship has been saved. Feelings were not hurt. It’s an STFU that nobody heard. And, as usual, for this feature to properly work and be embraced by the masses, it needs to be adopted directly on Twitter, and by Twitter. Many apps can already do something similar, but I don’t want to have to go somewhere else to get the (fairly basic) features I want. And I don’t think Twitter wants that, either. That’s not a win for them at all.
Some people don’t care about noise, or have learned to accept it. Others feel differently. For me, it’s all about the signal. And when you’re feeding me that I promise that you have my full attention.
And when you’re not? Well, sometimes it would nice if you would just be quiet for a while. And I’m sure you feel the same way about me.
(Mute image via Shutterstock.)