Twitter has rolled out a new feature this week which enables users to remove people from their news feed, without provoking any of that pesky social awkwardness which might arise from actually unfollowing or blocking them.
As Twitter’s official blog post explains: “Muting a user on Twitter means their Tweets and Retweets will no longer be visible in your home timeline, and you will no longer receive push or SMS notifications from that user. The muted user will still be able to fave, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline. The muted user will not know that you’ve muted them, and of course you can unmute them at any time.”
Which is great if you want to streamline the content you’re seeing on a daily basis while retaining contacts who may prove useful in the future. But what does this mean for Twitter marketers?
“It’s a potential pain for brands like, say, Virgin America or Twizzlers, which count on their tweets to reach every person following the accounts,” writes Mike Isaac at Recode. “That becomes even more problematic if those companies are buying advertising on Twitter; so you won’t see an ad for Red Vines, for instance, if you’ve muted the account.”
Of course, if you’re really not interested in engaging with a brand’s content (maybe you just followed and retweeted them as part of a competition and then forgot that they were there), then there’s nothing to stop you from unfollowing them entirely. The real issue here for marketers will be determining genuine brand reach, and encouraging followers to stay tuned by tweeting messages that are informative and entertaining, without being spammy.