Feature Friday: Muting People On Twitter

I think Mute is one of the most underused features on Twitter, second only to Unfollow. I went on a bit of a rant about this on Twitter last week.


Here is how you mute someone on Twitter:

My friend Lock has a great Twitter, but when he watches the hated Red Sox and the Patriots, I just can’t take it. So I need to mute him. Here is how you do that on the web.

  • Go to the profile and click on the little gear (settings) next to the Following button


  • Then you get this dropdown list. Select the Mute option.


  • Then you get this mute button next to the follow button on that person’s profile


  • Which you can toggle on and off from now on


If you follow people on Twitter that you just need to turn off every now and then set up the mute option and use it when necessary. It makes Twitter such a better experience.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Jess Bachman

    “Mute for one week” should be an option. I doubt anyone is going to remember to unmute somebody. Seems like “mute” is the social acceptable “unfollow”. Too much similarity in purpose to be a standout feature.

  2. JimHirshfield

    Sports? You expect us to believe it’s sports that causes you to mute people? Not politics? Funny

    1. falicon

      clowns in profile pictures is what does it for me…you clown me and I un-follow. Period. πŸ˜€

      1. JimHirshfield

        Sounds like coulrophobia. Better get that treated.

      2. Pointsandfigures

        How tempting is this…… : )

    2. LE

      Actually good point. The diagnosis here is inability to accept and understand what floats someone else’s boat.

    3. jason wright

      One should never mute political voices. The exchange is vital for progress. Even sputing is a bad idea

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I have actually begun to follow some new people after the U.S. election to hear new voices including some with whom I disagree or don’t understand. Had to draw the line at white supremacists. I am not that big of a person.But not knowing about the mute feature I also unfollowed a few VCs and tech leaders because their Twitter became toxic following the election. Success does not make you mature. And sometimes it makes for arrogance and disrespect.One VC in particular used Twitter and his blog to process. He was mad as hell but still trying to make sense of things. That I can appreciate. Kept him. And will be more appreciative of his business advice after watching him process his grave political disappointment.

  3. Helen Kurukulasuriya

    There’s a unfollow all extension on chrome that helped me, as my feed was too cluttered by never weeding it out. I did a reset and now only follow the people I actually want to know about. It’s become so much more interesting to check it now.

  4. kirklove

    Muting any Sox and Patriots dribble is indeed an amazing feature!

    1. Pointsandfigures

      Cubs are playing at Fenway next May. I am considering making the pilgrimage.

  5. William Mougayar

    Funny coincidence in the past days, I have been unfollowing 5 people per day. My Twitter stream has become too noisy (add that the frequency of Sponsored tweets has increased), so I’m going to try this experiment to bring down who I follow to under 700. I wished there was a tool that can help you do this more efficiently than spending 15 mins to unfollow 5.

    1. jacopogio

      Really, you are not using lists and a Tweedeck or Hootsuite ?

      1. William Mougayar

        Not lately. I gave up on them a while back. Just re-checking Tweetdeck & Hootsuite now. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. William Mougayar

    What’s annoying about Muting is that you need to remember to unMute later. Maybe we need Mute options, like Mute for 2 hours or “until game is over”, etc.

      1. Jess Bachman

        3rd party innovation is twitters MO.

      2. William Mougayar

        so it’s worth the $14 πŸ™‚ ?

        1. Pointsandfigures

          That’s my question. I deleted my freemium one

      3. charlieok

        That would be great to see rolled into twitter. It’d be cool to also see a history of prior mutes on someone. I’d probably work my way up the scale, starting with mute for a day, then a week, then a month, then a year…

      4. Anne Libby

        I’d also love to be able to mute only hastagged tweets. Sometimes someone is livetweeting at a conference that I just don’t need to hear about. This way I wouldn’t have to remember to unmute some people I really like, but whose interest I don’t share at that moment.I have loved Twitter. That said, more and more I’m muting Twitter itself. Nothing lasts forever.

        1. Anne Libby

          oops, I meant to reply to @wmoug:disqus, not Andy! Sorry you can’t mute this, Andy.

        2. Chris O'Donnell

          I think you can do that with the new blocking feature. I think it’s simple text string blocking – so if you block the hashtag it should vanish from your feed.

        3. William Mougayar

          Got it.

        4. rick gregory

          You can with Tweetbot, again. If you’re on Mac/iOS (they have apps for both) it really is much better than the default experience.

          1. Anne Libby


        5. Donna Brewington White

          Oh sorry. I hashtag like a boss. Are you still following me?I got that “like a boss” from one of your tweets. Had this vision of you at your desk powering away.

          1. Anne Libby

            Lol, of course I’m still following you. And I can’t see ever muting you!

      5. Matt Zagaja

        Also a big fan of the Tweetbot client.

      6. Jose Paul Martin

        Didn’t realize that feature… thanks Andy!

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s , Nobel Prize Literature 1971 … “20 love poems and a desperate song”, poem 15: ”Me gusta cuando callas porque estΓ‘s como ausente”…http://thue.stanford.edu/ja

        1. panterosa,

          Puedo escribir los versos mas tristes……

        2. Twain Twain

          Haha, xlnt, thanks for sharing.I mostly get my news flow on Linkedin these days. My connections tend to share good quality and relevant info whereas Twitter is much noisier.

    1. Rick Mason

      Often wondered why Twitter doesn’t let you mute, but only if the tweets use a specific hashtag. I get friends going to conferences I don’t care about and all of a sudden instead of tweeting once a day they’re posting 50-100 tweets a day. The neat thing about a hashtag only mute if that once set I don’t have to worry when they go to the same conference the next year.

    2. Richard

      Twitter needs to face some facts: no one really looks at their Twitter feeds other than when they are engaged in a conversation or when they are searching a hashtag.

      1. William Mougayar

        Someone tweeted this- that Twitter hasn’t found its Steve Jobs yet. Potential is 10x what it currently is, IMO.

        1. Richard

          No disrespect to Fred (who has defended Dick and JACK) but this company needs someone with VISION.

    3. JamesHRH

      What’s annoying about Muting is that Twitter turns it on for me all the time, without me knowing.I am sure my feed gets populated with about 10% of the tweets published by the people I follow – e.g., I never see @fredwilson:disqus ‘s tweets.Its a joke ( and yet, Twitter still pretty awesome ).

  7. Joe Marchese

    I un-Followed Guy Kawasaki years ago because he was posting so much it choked off the real estate for virtually everyone else I follow. It got to me when I noticed that he tweets identical message at multiple times during the day. People who grab the megaphone and won’t let it go are a bigger TWTR issue for me than any other.

    1. Chris O'Donnell

      I’ve unfollowed just about all the big name “influencers.” I figure if they actually say something interesting it’ll get retweeted enough to make it to me feed. They don’t seem to make it to me feed all that often.

      1. Pointsandfigures

        Great point. I find a lot of the “influencers” tweet plain vanilla shit. It becomes a soapbox megaphone instead of real interaction or information. I could read the newspaper and get the same information. Not where Twitter excels.

    2. jason wright

      Books to sell, brand to promote.

  8. Kurt Stangl

    Great tip. I”m a power user and use it all the time πŸ™‚

  9. Chris O'Donnell

    I’ve been blocking every news source that shows up in my Facebook feed – which in just a few days has made my Facebook wall a place dominated by pictures of friend’s kids and pets, which is exactly what I want FB to be.It’s important to remember that you are never obligated to follow back on Twitter. I look at the profile of anybody that follows me, if they look interesting I follow back. If it’s obvious they are just looking to increase the size of their broadcast audience, I don’t bother.

    1. Dorian Benkoil

      I wonder how many people do as you — block news sources or promotions or such. I kind of withdrew from frequently checking FB because I was getting marketed to death, but perhaps the better technique would be to mimic you. Wearing my other had — as a media/marketing person — I wonder the business implications.It would be nice if there were a choice ramp down on certain things rather than mute them altogether. (Such as ramping down on Guy K below, or muting mentions of a sports team for an individual from Fred’s example.)

      1. Chris O'Donnell

        At one time FB had a feature called, “Show important posts only.” You put somebody in that mode and it drastically limited how much you saw them in their feed. The algorithm for “important” was obviously proprietary, but it seemed to be based on number of likes or comments. So you never saw the political rantings , but if they posted a picture of a graduation or something important that would cause a lot of friends to comment and like it would show up on your wall. I used that feature heavily, so of course FB killed it.

  10. falicon

    I don’t want mute as much as I want ‘throttle’…because mute is basically unfollow for me since I’ll prob. forget to un-mute that person anyway.So really what I really want is something that limits the user from dominating my feed…maybe give me say 3 tweets a day from them (and with each tweet tell me how many others of theirs I didn’t see for today — so that if I want I can un-throttle, or visit their feed to see them all).I kinda like seeing the crazy, counterpoint, and infuriating things in my feed (because it keeps me on my toes and aware of other views)…I just don’t want it to be so much noise that I lose out on everything else.So many ways this experience could be better really…

    1. LE

      So do you want the first three or the best three at the end of the day? What about only tweets that get a certain amount of attention? Ideally they could make it even more complicated by adding additional granularity.

      1. falicon

        Yes. πŸ™‚

    2. Vasudev Ram

      Sounds like a better option than mute.

    3. Pointsandfigures

      I am sure ATT can figure that out for you : 0

    4. Rob Larson

      Yes! For example for some accounts I’d like to hide all tweets with less than x # of likes/retweets. That should throttle the drivel while preserving the insightful comments.

  11. Frank W. Miller

    I don’t use twitter. On FB, I went through this interesting experiment over the last couple of months. Prior to the election, I was unfollowing people if I got any posts on my wall from them that were political in nature (both sides). By election day, I had unfollowed about 40% of my friends list. However, I still got a lot of political stuff via what looks like some kind of correlated likes and shares thing.So the day after the election, I refollowed everybody thinking we were all done with politics and that would drop off on my wall. Well, it kept up almost as bad as before. So in the last two weeks, I’ve been unfriending people if I see any evidence of politics from their feeds. That means posts, likes or shares that come across my wall for whatever reason. My assumption was that I’d end up whittling my friends list down to nothing and then just drop off FB.However, I’ve notices this interesting behavior. There came a point in the unfriending (roughly the same 40% I had unfollowed previously) when the poltical stuff just stopped. The last week has been family, dog, and dinner plates on my wall. Just what I wanted!! πŸ˜‰ The point is there does indeed appear to be a subset of the people on my friends list that were using FB as a political blowhorn and there appears to be a separation between them from the FB systems point of view. It actually worked, but with unfriends, not unfollows.Mute on twitter sounds like unfollow on FB and unfollow on twitter sounds like unfriend on FB. I wonder if twitter would display similar behavior?

  12. leapy

    OT, sorry. A friend has just self published a book on Amazon that may be relevant to the AVC audience. How to support the entrepreneur in your family – with tips for friends.https://www.amazon.co.uk/su

  13. LE

    This is something that is totally non-intuitive. Not to mention that there is no M (rtfM) for twitter so how would anyone know this is even there? In short to many clicks to do this. Yet another thing that only people who are heavy into twitter would even know. It shouldn’t be like playing chess to much thinking.One last thing there isn’t even a clear UI explanation of what mute is vs. block. Your explanation is good (‘I still love him but not when he is talking about the red sox’) but that won’t help someone who hasn’t read this blog post.

  14. Dorian Benkoil

    Fred, on the issue of discussions & social media, Why do you think you’re able to cultivate so much discussion here, on your pages, rather than having it go off-page to social media (I’m sure one reason is allowing the logons from multiple social sources)?

    1. fredwilson

      Disqus is awesome

  15. Pointsandfigures

    Good feature. But when I follow I don’t mute anyone. I take it all in. I try to pick follows that will not be an echo chamber for me, or I know will take me out of my own confirmation bias. Sometimes I follow stuff that is just interesting to me like Agriculture, Design, WW2, the Cubs, the Bulls or Hawks.

  16. LE

    Actually digging into this I am thinking that MUTE is the feature that spammers use to get you to follow them. They follow you hoping that you follow them but then MUTE you.https://support.twitter.com

  17. LE

    Fwiw I think that Twitter hiring a head of product that isn’t a heavy twitter user is a good idea.. because it’s important to have perspective on what it’s like to not be a twitter user in order to make the product more accessible to as many people as possible.http://www.businessinsider….

  18. jason wright

    Just have the balls to unfollow. A person is not an a la carte menu in a fancy restaurant. It’s all or nothing. That’s what a real friendship is, the good, the bad, the immutable.

  19. ErikSchwartz

    The twitter snoozer that Andrew Parker made years ago was the best.

    1. fredwilson


  20. jason wright

    This week Twitter has said it will suspend Donald’s account if it violates policies.Is Twitter a public utility, a public good, a party to free speech? Muting, censoring, suspending, silencing, it’s not the way to a better future. People need to be heard.

    1. LE

      This is a non story. From what I read they simply said they would ban anyone (including him) if they violated certain rules. Total link bait. What would you expect them to say that they would allow him to violate rules?

      1. jason wright

        Their rules are self serving.We need a decentralised alternative.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Twitterly speaking, I am more concerned about the @POTUS handle transfer ceremony, it will be as relevant as the inauguration speech is.What does Twitter have to say about that?

          1. jason wright

            Twitter should bite its tongue and be as mute as possible about all things.Is Twitter dragging it’s heels on the POTUS transfer? More marketing nonsense.

          2. Lawrence Brass

            I agree on that Twitter should choose to be neutral as they can, but handling the user base sentiment or complaints is part of their job too.If I were them I would implement a time averaged BS index for each account, accessible anonymously or publicly by your followers.. or something like that. As in digital communications, back pressure has to be managed, channeled, to maintain quality of service.

        2. Vasudev Ram

          There is identi.ca which started some years ago. Have an account there but not sure how much usage and users it has. I was checking out GNU Social just recently. It is kind of decentralized. Not decided on using it or not.

    2. Ryan Frew

      There is no shortage of ways to be heard in this country, online or otherwise. A self-managed Twitter handle is a tiny piece of the relative puzzle. Twitter is absolutely not a public utility, public good, or party to free speech. It’s a corporation that can do as they please, and users and advertisers can respond as they choose as well.

      1. jason wright

        Too narrow an interpretation. Almost everything is private, but almost all depend on the public to survive.Twitter has no place censoring public debate. Fuck Twitter on that point alone.

        1. Ryan Frew

          From a legal standpoint, Twitter needs to be cautious not to violate its TOS. Beyond that, though, the market will decide what they can and cannot do. Legislating it is silly. Does the NYT have an obligation to show unbiased stories? Fox News? If Twitter is censoring me, I have about a million other outlets I can use.

      2. PhilipSugar

        It’s an interesting question I definitely see your point but since they have gotten so big they are almost a monopoly. Certainly they should let individuals block or unfollow others. Put in as many individual rules as possible. But when you start blocking people for their viewpoint that’s tough. I don’t know.

        1. Ryan Frew

          Almost a monopoly on what, exactly? Today alone, I have read the views of others, as well as shared my own, on platforms such as Kinja, Reddit, Facebook, Disqus, LinkedIn, Medium, Youtube, major news sites, and individual blogs. There is no evidence of Twitter blocking anyone merely for their viewpoint. I agree it’s tough, though, when considering the possibility. The irony, to me, is that we’re talking about preventing a company from leveraging censorship in pursuit of their own political interests…and then some say the way to solve it would be to write a law about it, which of course would be written in Congress. Because that’s a good balanced place. πŸ˜‰

          1. PhilipSugar

            I certainly am not saying I know the answer it is not black and white.It feels like it would be chilling if Twitter said we decide to block Hillary.On the other hand it would not be a nice place if they allowed skinheads to spew their hate on it.They have the right (within reason) for their free speech, but I don’t have to serve them as a private business. (I walked into barber shop and she was having a chat with a skinhead with swastika’s and death-head tattoos on his neck. I left and never went back)

          2. Ryan Frew

            Agree 100%. It would be chilling. It shouldn’t be illegal.

          3. PhilipSugar

            I agree see my point to Kirsten.

    3. PhilipSugar

      It’s and interesting question as I said last week. It was built with private money so why can’t they do what they want. But on the other hand I agree with you people need to be heard. You know I wear old faded t-shirts and half the time drive a 2002 Chevy pickup that’s paint has faded too. I live in the country. The viewpoints I hear so different than those when I’m sitting up in first class traveling between big metros.

      1. Ryan Frew

        Bingo. In the real world, sometimes you have to go to different places to hear different viewpoints. It may be unfortunate, but that’s what we have to do online, also. Twitter doesn’t have a legal obligation to ensure that all viewpoints are equally accessible on their platform. There is a fun debate about the moral obligation, though.

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      This is so clear cut. People don’t understand what free speech means under the Constitution.There are limits on what you can say, without consequence, even in public spaces. You can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. You can’t yell “Kill that red-haired guy!! Kill him!!!” in Herald Square without potential legal consequences.Twitter isn’t a public utility. It’s not even as close to being one as is your local public access cable channel. And it’s not ok to go on public access and say that there’s a lethal virus spreading through the city at this very moment, don’t leave your house!Twitter has every right to set the rules about barring hate speech, threats, incitement to violence, etc.The President of the United States is in no danger of not being heard.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I agree. But it’s interesting how to set the line. Certainly there are clear cases. But there are many non clear ones. They seem clear to people that have strong views on “one side” or the other (and that is sad that I can say that)I’ve been thinking about that. I don’t mind people kneeling during the national anthem. I don’t know about burning flags. I let an officer who was carrying a triangle box (flag of fallen solider) take my seat on a plane.It is a very strong emotion for people like me that have lost friends in the meat grinder of the Middle East over the years.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          We don’t have any triangle boxes from fallen soldiers (thank God) but the flags given to veterans’ families at funerals are among our family’s most treasured possessions.I am also married to a man who climbs a mountain near our house every year or so to make sure the American flag is on top of it. Took a bunch of neighbors and our 15 y.o. this year.So you know where we stand on flag burning. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. PhilipSugar

            I can tell you I have been to Arlington too many times over the years.The saddest is when we buried this brother.http://www.findagrave.com/c…Board of Directors of Toys for Tots.Committed suicide after being in the meat grinder too long.Broke my heart.

      2. jason wright

        It is certainly not so clear cut, and the tech of a Twitter is unlike that of earlier forms of mass communication (newspapers, radio, TV) so that for the first time we have the opportunity to know how we each think. It’s a new democracy, being muted.

        1. PhilipSugar

          This is an observation not a political statement:People don’t understand banning Trump from Twitter would cement his current base, cause some that wouldn’t vote for him out of principle to change their minds, and get additional people to the polls.

      3. PhilipSugar

        This is no way is support, endorsement or criticism. It is an observation:You are right the POTUS would get his message out and it would be:”See this proves the elites don’t care about or respect you, they want to control you”It would be disastrous if you don’t like Trump. The amount of energy it would generate in his base would be worth several points in the next election.Mark Wahlberg has it right when celebrities come out and slam Trump the only thing it does is energize his base, not change people’s minds.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Agreed. During the run up to the election, I felt strongly that every tweet criticizing Trump for saying something awful was just more free exposure for him. (As a Clinton supporter) I urged Clinton supporters to only tweet good stuff about her.I also am not sure I want him banned from Twitter because I want him (any U.S. Pres) as transparent as possible. On the other hand, nobody should be above the rules. So, it would be a tough call if I had to make the decision, myself.

  21. RichardF

    Can I mute the ad’s? something like 1in every 8 are spam

  22. John Revay

    Poor @LockPoster child for twitter muting πŸ™‚

    1. Lock

      Ha. Picked up 100+ Twitter followers today. No such thing as bad AVC coverage!

      1. fredwilson

        All press is good press!

    1. fredwilson


  23. Pete Griffiths

    IMHO this is related to one of the biggest problems with twitter.There are LOTS of people who tweet on one topic interestingly but have other interests you don’t give a damn about.Bill Gross is a great example, I am interested in his stuff on startups and technology but the guy is a photography fanatic who is constantly tweeting photos. Just noise to me.The idea would be channels that you can subscribe to. pub sub

  24. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:notwithstanding a few Contributors with intentional false entries to manipulate the lazy minds we feel the majority on this blog are tech savvy even if they are not in the technology space. Did we really require a tutorial? Really? Just pump Twitter directly.No need for the indirect constant of the platform which if you trade you know where the tea leafs fall. The investors want this stock sold by any means necessary and we don’t blame them.There is apparently no smart company that will acquire Twitter at the requested multiples. Gheez

  25. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Off Topic Alert!Nov 2016 US economic info. All up under current POTUS. Unemployment down to 4.6. The measures of entry were dire and now prosperous. Will monitor it in four years. Surpluses in last thirty years have increased during the same parties and declined under the same parties.3.2 GDP Nov 2016 report.2009 A loss of 900K jobs not an increase.Can’t wait to read the false excuses of prospective job seekers stop looking for employment. Yeah yeah yeah.

  26. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Lists.I have lists and I scan them with TweetDeck. It’s SO easy and effective. People needn’t be overwhelmed by Twitter, if they just adopt a practice of creating lists.I keep an eye on my most important lists during the day. And I take the occasional dip into my unfiltered feed, once or twice a day, to see if there’s anything interesting.It’s fun to retweet something from one of my lists of people, that I know probably wouldn’t be seen my followers otherwise, because they don’t keep track all the same people I do.I also have three Twitter accounts, on which I follow very different groups of people. It’s super easy to track them with TweetDeck and with the Twitter mobile app.Twitter’s easy with the right tools in your belt.

    1. Rob Larson

      Sounds intriguing. I’d like to better understand. I’ve always managed the user experience by being very selective with who I follow. What do you like most about your (lists) approach?

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I tend to follow people around particular topics like, women in tech, comics, racial justice, startups, etc. So I organize my lists that way.I also have one very very special list that is limited to a close circle of friends and allies. I pay special attention to that list. It’s important to me not to miss a thing by anyone on that list.I also have the three completely separate accounts. There’s almost no crossover in the people that I follow on the 3 accounts. I tend to set rules for myself about what I’ll tweet or retweet on two of them. I want to keep them highly relevant to their purpose (they’re not tied to my personal identity, but aren’t marketing accounts either). But my personal one is about anything I care about.I also tend to follow back generously on my personal account. But I only check in on the full feed a few times a week at most. If I really really want to keep track of you, you’re on a list :)For me, it’s a great mix. I keep up with what I care about, but I also enjoy the serendipity of just fishing from the big river now and then.Tweetdeck is a must have for me. I’m torn between wondering why Twitter doesn’t pay more attention to it, and hoping they leave it alone, ha!

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Oh, I also have a side project that I use to keep track of my most-importants on Twitter, Insta and Disqus.http://bit.ly/2gzearTHappy to make for you if you’re ever interested.

    2. fredwilson

      Another incredibly valuable and underused Twitter feature. These need to be front and center in the UI

  27. Jose Paul Martin

    Fred, don’t you think it’s better to add people to various lists? I feel that it’s a feature that twitter has hidden too much. I have a list for Entrepreneurs, a list for VCs/PE, a list for websites that I need to follow because I use their products… and just about anything. The next step is to unfollow everyone and just keep them in lists. And then dip into the river of tweets whenever I get the time…

  28. Ana Milicevic

    I read the headline as ‘Meeting people on Twitter’ and was understandably disappointed to find out it’s about the opposite :/