Posted May 12, 2014 3:22 pm by with 0 comments

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win7_muteLast night, I spent a little time cleaning up my Twitter feed. I followed some new people and unfollowed quite a few. With every “unfollow” click, I felt a little twinge of guilt. Will the person know I unfollowed them? Not a big deal for the dozens of strangers I follow to see if it’s a good fit, but I wanted to unfollow a friend who simply posts too often for my liking.

Social media etiquette – it’s a real thing.

This morning, Twitter came to my rescue with a new option called mute.

Instead of cutting all ties to a person, mute lets you remove all of their Tweets from your feed while still keeping the lines of communication open. The “muted” person can favorite you, reply and retweet and send a direct message. Twitter does say you won’t get any new SMS notifications about that person.

Best part, the person won’t know they’ve been muted. . . . wait. . . that could lead to trouble. I can see the email now. “What do you mean you didn’t see 12 photos of my new puppy I posted on Twitter? Why not?”

Mute will be available on the web as well as the iPhone and Android apps but it’s a slow roll out. As of this morning, I didn’t have the option. It will be under the “More” tab on a Tweet — a handy place to put it so as soon as someone annoys you with a single message or too many messages you can click and say begone!

Will this new option affect your use of Twitter as a marketing tool. Depends. (How’s that for a firm maybe?)

If you’re a consumer brand and customers follow you, chances are they’ll have no qualms about simply unfollowing you if they don’t like what you’re doing. I can’t see them bothering with the mute button just to spare your feelings. Unfollow is one click and it’s done.

If, however, you use Twitter as a way of communicating with potential clients in business – that’s different. Here’s why. B2B Twitter users follow a lot of people for the purpose of networking. I want an open line between me and Mr. BigShot at HollywoodStudioLand because I might need him someday. However, I’m really tired of his constant barrage of celebrity name-dropping Tweets so mute it is.

Now, Mr. BigShot thinks I’m getting all of his updates but I’m not. Which means, I’m also not going to see his big book announcement – just lost me as a customer.

In reality, it doesn’t matter. Chances are, if I’m that tired of what he’s doing, mute or not, I’m not paying attention to his messages anyway.

The takeaway from all of this is that you have to carefully craft your Twitter message if you want people to follow you, read what you’re saying and respond – but hey, we all already knew that, didn’t we?

What I want is a way to search all my followers for keywords so I can speak directly to those who might be interested in a project I’m working on. Is there a way to do this that I don’t know about? Let me know in the comments below. Also, what do you think of Mute? A potential marketing problem or no big deal?