Twitter Adds 'Mute' Button For More Feed Control

Thanks to certain users (you know who you are), Twitter feeds are often noisy, nonsensical, and grating on the nerves. This downside to free speech likely limits broader adoption, and discourages existing users from spending more time on the network.  

Addressing this issue, Twitter debuted a “mute” button on Monday. “In the same way you can turn on device notifications so you never miss a Tweet from your favorite users, you can now mute users you'd like to hear from less,” Paul Rosania, a product manager at Twitter, explained in a blog post published on Monday.

Short of an “unfollow,” there has previously been no easy way for Twitter users to block others users' tweets.

Muting a user means their tweets and retweets will no longer be visible on one's timeline, nor will they receive push or SMS notifications from the muted user.

When the new feature rolls out in the coming weeks, the muted will still be able to “fave,” reply to, and retweet a muter's Tweets, although that activity will no longer be visible on the muter's timeline.

To spare their feelings, the muted will not know that they have been muted.

For whatever reason, Twitter is not growing fast enough for many investors, and social media experts. 

Year-over-year, monthly active users (MAUs) rose about 25% to roughly 255 million in the first quarter of the year -- markedly less than the 30% user growth that Twitter reported the previous quarter. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo addressed the company's growing problem during its first quarter earning, last month. “Twitter the platform is already mainstream,” he said on the call, using the case of this year's Oscars -- when Twitter recorded 3.3 billion views in 48 hours -- to make his point. 

Thanks in part to its close media ties and strong brand, many analysts continue to believe in Twitter's long-term prospects. "Most issues around attraction, conversion and retention of [monthly active users] are largely fixable,” Deutsche Bank wrote in a recent report. “We believe Twitter is well aware of and working on these issues and are comfortable that MAU growth could re-accelerate at some point in 2014.”

Still, Twitter's domestic unique visitor levels have not improved in any material sense over the past quarter, Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research, said late last month. “Absence of significant growth would be unsurprising to us, given our view of Twitter as a niche consumer proposition in most markets.”
 
By eMarketer's reckoning, Twitter's usership will grow from about 43 million U.S. consumers in 2013 to just 65 million in 2018 -- or about half of Facebook's current domestic user base.

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