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Oh, how I wish a Mute button existed in real life. Unfortunately, our reality isn’t as entertaining as that seen in the Adam Sandler flick Click, though the acting is almost always of a higher standard.

There may be no way to Mute someone in the offline world, but it’s entirely possible online. Especially on Twitter, which has just added a dedicated Mute button that offers an alternative to Unfollowing or Blocking someone.

If you’re wondering when it is appropriate to use the Mute button on Twitter then read on. As usual, MakeUseOf has you covered.

What Is The Mute Button?

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We’ll start with the basics, which means explaining what the Mute button actually does, and how it differs from Blocking and Unfollowing. Twitter is being generous in offering three different and distinct ways of ignoring people. So don’t look this gift horse in the mouth. He hates that s**t.

Unfollowing someone Are You Being Unfollowed? Check With These Apps and Plugins Are You Being Unfollowed? Check With These Apps and Plugins In my opinion, one of the best things Facebook ever did was to let users "unfriend" each other without any notifications. There have been numerous examples where I’ve regretted "friending" someone, and I’ve avoided tons... Read More completely removes them from your timeline, while Blocking someone How To Block An Annoying User On Twitter How To Block An Annoying User On Twitter One of the big problems with social media - and the Internet in general - is the delicate balance of having to maintain one’s privacy without being a completely boxed-in hermit of anonymity. As useful... Read More means they cannot follow you. Muting someone means you continue to follow them but their tweets stop showing up in your timeline, whether temporarily or on a more permanent basis.

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You can Mute someone on the website or through the iOS or Android apps. The simplest way to Mute someone is to go to their profile page, tap the Gear icon, and then select Mute from the dropdown menu. Et voilà, no more tweets from that individual until you reverse the process.

10 Reasons To Hit The Mute Button

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Now you know what the Mute button is it’s time to discover when it’s appropriate to actually use it. What follows are 10 occasions on which you should consider utilizing the Mute feature. All of which will lead to a quieter life on social media.

To Avoid Offending Someone

You may follow real-life friends, family members, or work colleagues on Twitter. Which is great. Unfortunately, they may turn out to be complete dicks tweeting opinions you really don’t appreciate. Muting them is the best way to solve the problem without offending anyone.

To Avoid Twitter Meltdowns

Twitter meltdowns are pretty commonplace, and not all of them involve celebrities. Most do, but not all. Muting gives you the chance to temporarily hide someone’s tweets when you spot them losing it. You can check their profile at a later date to see if they’re back to normal.

To Avoid Live-Tweeting

You probably follow people you have something in common with, but no two people are completely matched for interests. So when the usually-interesting chap or chapess starts live-tweeting something which bores you, Muting them for the duration is the best way to get through it.

To Avoid Spoilers

I have lost count of the number of TV shows I have had ruined by people posting spoilers online Silencer: Avoid Spoilers & Other Crap on Twitter & Facebook Silencer: Avoid Spoilers & Other Crap on Twitter & Facebook Read More . Because people are ignorant and assume if they have seen the final episode then so has everyone else. If you spot spoiler danger incoming, Mute the offender until they desist.

To Avoid A Hated Subject

Whether it’s politics, sport, or celebrity that sends you into a hate-filled coma, the Mute button lets you avoid too much chatter about that subject. In the three examples, Mute people incessantly tweeting at the time of an election, a sporting final, or a celebrity wedding.

To Avoid Serial Retweeters

We probably all follow at least one person on Twitter who is a serial retweeter. That is to say they don’t tend to write their own tweets but instead spend their days retweeting other’s people’s original thoughts. The Mute button can offer respite from this annoying trait.

To Avoid Being Unfollowed

If you have followed certain individuals purely because they followed you first then Muting them is a good way of making their tweets disappear without losing followers. You then maintain your follower count but don’t have to put up with the inane ramblings of a stranger.

To Avoid A Specific Event

If you hate football then Twitter is a no-go area when the Super Bowl is on. The same goes for people who hate awful pop music when Eurovision is taking place. If you follow someone who is heavily into these events you have no interest in then Mute them for the duration.

To Avoid Tweetstorms

Tweetstorms are a fairly new phenomenon whereby people who like the sound of their own voice have forgotten the essential thing that makes Twitter unique. Don’t let these people fill your timeline with 12 tweets that follow on from each other. Instead, Mute them at 1/12.

To Avoid Making An Enemy

If you, like me, follow hundreds of people on Twitter, then the chances are you’ve erred on a couple of occasions and followed someone you now want to back away from slowly. Muting offers the best chance you have of quietly creeping away from them without making an enemy.

You should obviously use your own common sense when deciding whether Muting is the correct thing to do when any of the issues outlined above come up. These examples should at least help you understand why the Mute button exists.

Conclusions

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The Mute button is a nice addition to Twitter, offering an alternative to Blocking or Unfollowing someone, as well as just ignoring them in another, altogether ruder, manner. But it needs to be used sparingly and only when it’s the sensible option.

Hopefully we have helped you understand how, when, and why to use the Mute button to improve your Twitter experience. And if you don’t already tweet then you really should be using Twitter 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Twitter 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Twitter Twitter has now been with us for seven years and counting. This was seven years to the day since Jack Dorsey sent out the first tweet in 2006, at a time when the micro-blogging social... Read More . Do it. Now. Or the Fail Whale gets it.

Image Credits: Katie Tegtmeyer via Flickr, Bradleypjohnson via Flickr, Wade M via Flickr, Steve Winton via Flickr

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