You can mute your TV. You can mute Gmail threads. And as of Monday, you can mute Twitter accounts if you don’t want to see their activity. These three points define a spectrum of muting that moves from logical to bizarre.
Muting your TV, speakers, YouTube videos, etc., makes sense. Sometimes you need to kill the sound, or you’re going to watch some silent TV while you talk (that is, listen) to your grandfather on the phone. With email, you wouldn’t normally want to take yourself out of messages that presumably involve you, but there are cases where muting can be useful. For example, if you’re part of a planning thread for a camping trip that you can’t attend, you don’t really need to have the back and forth about who’s bring marshmallows.
But with Twitter, the case for muting falls apart. The whole point of Twitter is that you follow people whose tweets you want to read. If you don’t want to read their tweets, don’t follow them.
Some muting has been possible for a while—services like TweetDeck let users sort and organize content, which can effectively silence certain accounts.
But now that there is an official Twitter function, it’s that much easier to start muting. And this is a slippery slope toward neutering Twitter’s usefulness. The Twitter home timeline is supposed to be a place for incidental discovery. And though it may feel random to stumble across new ideas or interesting links on Twitter, it’s not really, because your timeline is pre-curated by you.
Admittedly, there are politics to Twitter. If a friend, family member, or colleague follows you, it can be slightly awkward not to follow them back. In that case the mute button is an easy way to save face. Or you might want to use your follow to support a brand or organization without actually seeing their high volume of similar tweets. This all goes double if you use Twitter for work. But these are special cases.
It’s all right that Twitter added the mute function. It exists in so many other services that it just makes competitive sense to have it there as an option. But as a user, you shouldn’t really want to use it. And where unfollowing makes a real, sometimes hurtful, statement, muting just allows people who think they’re clever to go on deluging other people’s timelines with painful anecdotes. By muting an account you’re also muting your disdain for their less-than-pithy quips.
Besides, if you mute every annoying person you follow, what will drive the angry frenzy that fuels your hilarious and wonderful Twitter rants?
Instagram is working on a new messaging app
Rivaling Snapchat, Threads will enable users to automatically share their location, movements, and battery life with their IG ‘close friends’ list
Now Facebook is a wasteland for your racist aunt and high school friends’ wedding photos, the platform is determined to maintain its social media stronghold via Instagram and WhatsApp (sorry, ‘Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook’). Its latest venture? A new messaging app called Threads.
As reported by The Verge, Threads will be a companion app to Instagram, promoting constant sharing between users and their IG ‘close friends’ list. The app will enable people to automatically share their location, movements, and battery life with each other, as well as send text, photo, and video messages.
The development could be seen as another attempt to rival Snapchat – which already lets users share their location – following Instagram’s introduction of Stories three years ago.
Instagram has been trying to develop the messaging side of its app since late 2017 when the company started working on Direct, a standalone camera-first app exclusively for DMs. The platform ceased work in May this year after research revealed users found it frustrating to switch apps when they wanted to send a message – although this is exactly what happened with Facebook Messenger in 2016.
Screenshots acquired by The Verge show that users have the option to switch on automatic sharing, but are also able to update their statuses manually. Although Threads encourages friends to share their location with one another, it will reportedly show updates like ‘on the move’, rather than a real-time location.
The app’s main feed will show all messages, as well as friends’ updates and active status, and will allow users to watch their close friends’ IG stories as opposed to having to go back to Instagram to view them.
This announcement comes after a number of updates to the platform, including the removal of likes, an anti-bullying feature, and a tool to report fake news. Although, there’s currently no launch date for Threads, and given Instagram’s history with fucked-up trials, it may never even materialise.
Massive change coming to WhatsApp with introduction of ads
WhatsApp will see a massive change by 2020 with the introduction of adverts into the instant messaging app.
It’s been rumoured for a while and now WhatsApp looks set to finally bring adverts to its popular messaging app.
The Facebook-owned firm revealed the news during its annual Marking Summit in the Netherlands, with a rollout expected next year.
Photos of the way these new adverts will look have even been posted online with attendee Olivier Ponteville, giving fans a closer look at what’s to come.
The image, which can be seen on Twitter, shows how ads currently appear on Facebook and Instagram with a WhatsApp screenshot then revealed with a full-screen advert.
According to technology website BGR, once the message appears users will be able to “swipe up when an ad appears for more information about the product or service being advertised.”
Adverts in WhatsApp have been spoken about for a while but this is the first evidence that things are changing within the popular service.
How fans react is yet to been seen but it’s unlikely to go down well with its billions of users.
The bad news is that it seems there’s nothing that can be done to stop this new feature from arriving within the app.
It seems almost certain that there will be no way to switch them off or hide these paid-for messages which may prove to be hugely irritating.
Facebook Messenger finally adds quoted replies
Today Facebook Messenger has added a sorely missing feature – quoted replies. This allows you to reply to a specific message in a conversation, and is incredibly helpful when you’re engaged in chats that have a big range of topics. Using the new feature, the people you’re talking to will now know exactly what you were replying to with that “LOL”, for example.
This has been a feature in WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, for a very long time, and it’s always been sort of a baffling omission in Messenger. So it’s good to finally see it there too.
In order to quote a specific message, long tap on it and you’ll see a new Reply button to the right of the reaction emojis. Tap that, write your reply, and, just like in WhatsApp, the message you’re replying to will appear above your reply. Easy. This potentially means you’ll have less misunderstandings with your friends as to which message was referencing what.
The feature is rolling out now on both iOS and Android.
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