How To Shut Up Twitter Bores, Without Turning Them Off
I know the feeling!
It turns out, for instance, that many people in my Twitterstream are big fans of Stanford’s sports teams. I’m not.
And it cuts both ways. Perhaps not all of my followers are interested in my barrage of tweets from, say, Verizon’s iPhone event yesterday.
But Twitter is a binary, all-or-nothing proposition. So you either have to scroll past messages you don’t care about, or stop following the people who write them.
Here’s a compromise: Temporarily ban the people who bore you, and/or entire topics you don’t care about, from your stream. You can do it with TweetCaster, a popular Twitter app for Google’s Android platform, via a new “Zip It” feature.
If you see a Tweet you don’t want to read again, you “zip” it with a swipe, then tell the app whether you’re trying to mute the Twitterer, or something in the Tweet. From then on, you’ll see a zipper graphic every time the writer or the topic pops up again.
I’ve been interested in the idea of switching parts of my Twitterstream on and off for a long time, and I’m not the only one. Andrew Parker, now a principal at Twitter investor Spark Capital, built a version of this three years ago. And something called Proxlet is supposed to do this as well, but I don’t quite understand how.
I’m pretty sure the folks at Twitter are working on this as well, but from a different direction: They’re trying to show you more Tweets about things you’re interested in, instead of blocking ones you don’t care about.
I understand why the Twitter team would go about it this way — more tweets=more ad potential.
And even very simple fixes like “Zip It” require users to spend time on clerical work — and the whole point of Twitter is its simplicity. Who wants to spend time shaping their Twitterfeed, when they could be watching Jon Stewart?
Still, there’s something here. And if Twitter wants more people to spend more time using the service, then figuring out an easy way to filter stuff out seems like a useful feature to build into the core product. Let’s add it to Dick Costolo‘s to-do list.