Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Please, Don't Mute Me

About two weeks ago, Twitter announced that it would be introducing a new mute feature, to further enhance the user experience. The mute feature does exactly as the name suggests, allows users to remove certain content from their immediate timeline. The new mute feature is available on both the iPhone and Android applications, as well as on

Many Twitter applications have allowed a similar feature for mobile, but now that Twitter has made the feature available on the web and across it’s official application, the power to mute now lies at everyone’s fingertips.

There are a few things that PR professionals, especially those of us who focus on social media and community management, should be concerned about regarding this new feature. For starters, once someone decides to mute a user from their timeline, there is a high chance that users will forget that they’ve muted you, giving the feature the same potency as an unfollow. Twitter has not mentioned any notification or list that indicates to users who they’ve muted. Once you’ve been silenced, it is highly likely you will be forgotten.

Secondly, as far as Twitter’s official announcements have indicated, you have no way of knowing how many of your followers have muted your posts. You may think you’re pushing out high quality content, when in fact you may be speaking to an empty room.

To avoid being muted on Twitter, try implementing these three simple tips:

1. Be engaging. Even if a user has muted you, they will still receive mentions, favorites and retweets from you. Instead of waiting for your followers to engage with your content, reach out to them and remind them of your presence.

2. Be relevant. Keep up with the times! Don’t make the story all about you, acknowledge things that are going on in the world that your target audience si likely talking about. Interject yourself into the conversation so that you are not kicked out of it.

3. Be visual. Sharing 140 characters of text is swell, but adding an image ups your post’s impact tremendously. Keep things visually appealing to give your followers even more of a reason to keep you around (and vocal).

Social media is driven by user needs, and the implementation of Twitter’s mute button only proves this to be true. As PR professionals, it is our job to be sure that our content meets the user’s needs as well.

What concerns do you have about Twitter’s new feature? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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