The mute buttons on phones and TV remote controls are very useful. They are not without risk though. Nothing life threatening, but the possibility of embarrassment and agitation exists. Like the time you thought your cell phone was on mute and you carried it with you into the restroom during that conference call. And there was that time you muted a TV commercial and missed an important part of the dialogue when your show came back on.
About a year ago Twitter introduced their “mute” feature. 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 profile. It’s a way to be able to discreetly silence a follower without the drama that occasionally occurs if you were to unfollow them.
Have you used the mute feature yet? I have, so here are four points I keep top of mind in hopes of avoiding your mute button:
1. Content carries consequences. You are what you tweet and retweet. If your material is offensive, shocking, or your followers see it as consistently off topic, be prepared to be muted, unfollowed or even blocked.
2. Go with the flow. Don’t try to control it because machine gunning tweets is dangerous. Yes, marketers want attention and one tactical way to try and capture it is to quickly tweet in an uninterrupted sequence. But if that sequence is basically spray and pray type content with low value-add be prepared to have your voice muted. If you want to experiment with sequencing try a “Burma Shave” story strategy referenced in my “How to Use Social Media to Create Interest and Credibility” presentation.
3. Out of sight, out of mind. If you are muted, future conversations are over. What I mean is that there is a low probability they will remember to turn the mute button off at a later date. In essence, your voice has been hidden. Yes, this presents a big dilemma if you are extremely chatty. On one hand it’s great that you are engaging in one-to-one relationships; however, not all of your followers are interested in viewing a timeline filled with conversations that mean nothing to them.
4. No warning. If you’ve ever presented at a conference and noticed your audience was not engaged you were lucky because you had the opportunity to make adjustments to get back on track. You won’t be so lucky in this situation. There will be no notification or message that you’ve been muted.
There you have it. The mute feature gives the audience control over the content they see on Twitter.