Tech Blog

How To Silence Twitter's Noise

by Blogger ‎01-31-2012 07:20 PM - edited ‎01-31-2012 07:25 PM

Twitter is about to get noisy.  With the Super Bowl this weekend and The Oscars arriving in the next month, the conversation that normally weaves through a number of threads is about to get VERY onesided.

 

If youre not a red carpet afficionado or a football freak, there is a way to drown out the noise without blocking or unfollowing the noisy twitterers.

 

Here's how:

 

TWEETBOT FILTERS

 

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Tweetbot, the popular Twitter mobile app that many power users switched to after Twitter's recent redesign, has a mute function.  You can mute people or hashtags for a day, a week, a month, or forever.

 

Simply press the hashtag in your stream, hold for a few seconds and a menu bar will pop up with prompts.

 

The Bachelor is a weekly monday night flood on the Twittersphere and, frankly, I'm not a fan.  So I've muted #thebachelor from my stream.  I don't need to unfollow all those wonderful women in my stream, but I no longer have to see their tweets about Ben and his band of beauties.

 

A friend of mine did this during CES 2012 to get rid of the non-stop updates, and I plan to implement the same plan of attack when SXSWi starts in a few weeks. While the live stream hashtags can be useful to those at a conference, to those of us not in attendance it becomes a deafening noise that needs to be turned down.

 

You can do the same for a user.  Now that we know it's the Giants and the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, the breast beating is going to begin.  If you really don't want to hear about Tom Brady every 10 minutes for the next week and a half, you can mute the user until after the big game.

 

Tweetbot will also let you silence an app.  Because of all the sharing we're being demanded to do by Path, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, Instagram, Yelp etc many people have aligned their updates to feed many streams at once.  If you're not a Foursquare user, chances are seeing the updates in your Twitter stream are pointless.  You can silence those third party apps to remove them from your news feed.

 

WEB TOOLS

 

Mute Tweets allows you to temporarily unfollow someone who's being too noisy, refollowing them after a given period of time.  You follow the account and then give it permission to follow and re-follow people on your behalf.  If the person has notifications turned on, they will get notified each time you unfollow/mute them.  It works, but it's not very stealth.


If you use Chrome, you can add a number of extensions (TweetMute, SlipStream and Proxlet) to the browser to filter your stream through Twitter's web interface.

 

Proxlet is also a tool that claims to offer much of the functionality that TweetBot has natively.  It will block apps, and is compatible with Twitter for iPhone, Seesmic, Twidroid and TweetDeck.  I used it for a while but found it very kloogy whenever I accessed Twitter on the web.  Since TweetBot does the same thing natively, that's where I go.

 

Muuter promises to filter your stream by keyword.  Just type some words of phrases into the site and it will filter those from your interface.

 

I like the idea of being able to mute hashtags, topics or verbose users from my stream.  Especially if you follow a lot of people, it can help reduce the noise from your stream and focus the conversation.  It can also be a good tool to help you refine your list of followers. 

 

It would be nice to see Twitter officially embrace these filtering options.  They now own TweetDeck which does have powerful filtering capabilities, so let's see it roll out across all tools.

 

How do you handle the signal to noise ratio in your Twitter feed?

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