Turning inner space into outer space

November 13, 2013

Apps come to the rescue when you want to mute Twitter

There are a lot of good reasons not to use Twitter’s website, the most obvious one being the big-ass ads now showing up. But often overlooked is the lack of features that have been implemented in apps.

The one I have been learning to appreciate recently is the ability to mute. I use this function occasionally when someone I follow suddenly takes it upon themselves to live tweet in copious detail an event I have no interest in. I can block that account for a few hours in the hope that they will later come to their senses.

I don’t know of any way of doing this on the Twitter website other than going through the hassle of using a third-party service. Some people may be OK with this, but I generally try to avoid it.

For a basic muting feature, you can turn to Tweetdeck. This is an app offered by Twitter itself and is loved by journalists for its ability to follow several streams at once. Of course, the downside is that we may soon be seeing the insertion of ads here as well.

In any case, to use mute in Tweetdeck simply go to Settings and click on the Mute tab. From there you have three options: text content, user and source. When you want to “unmute,” go back to the Settings and revise the list.

Now, you might be wondering about “text content.” This is something I recently discovered when I got fed up with one of the people I follow using a term I won’t mention here because they might find it embarrassing. Let’s just say it’s an abbreviation that grates on my nerves. I typed that word into the Tweetdeck Settings and I no longer receive tweets with that word in it. Yay.

If you want to go even further with muting, you’ll need an app like Tweetbot, which is far and away the best I know of. In addition to the three options mentioned above, it also allows you to mute hashtags, which can be a relief when a subject you don’t care about is trending all over the place. And it also lets you set the duration of a mute. I’ve got my annoying word set to forever, but with Tweetbot there are also the options of one day, one week and one month. Plus, you can mute any mentions that have the keyword in it.

Most impressive is the ability to check matching tweets. Tweetbot tells me, for example, that so far it has muted nine tweets with the annoying word. And if I’m really curious, I can look at a list of them — just in case one of them is actually worth reading.