As someone who watches a lot of shows and movies, and never wants anything spoiled for me, I love Twitter’s Mute Functionality. I can mute literally any word, phrase, hashtag, account, sentence etc. I love it. It helps me out anytime there’s something new coming out and I may be late to watch it. Remember the WandaVision era? Or just a few weeks ago when Venom opened in American theatres two weeks earlier than the rest of the world?
During both periods of time – and many more – I’d mute stuff and be free to experience Twitter without risking spoilers.
However, no other platforms has a similar tool. On YouTube, there’s literally no way – none I know of – to mute phrases, words etc. so that your homepage isn’t full of things you may not want to see. I don’t think Facebook has it, neither does Instagram.
For me, the rule is to always avoid YouTube, Facebook and Instagram whenever I don’t want anything spoiled. At least until I get around to watching the show/movie. You all know how challenging this can be.
But such a button isn’t just for spoilers. It can also come as helpful for other things. A lot of other things.
Ways in which a Mute Button can be helpful for other platforms:
- Bad news – whenever there’s bad news and there’s commentary about it online and you don’t want to see what’s being said, this could be a good tool.
- Uncomfortable topics – you can close yourself from any uncomfortable topics you don’t want to be a part of.
- Triggering content – if you may be triggered by certain things, you can mute them from your feeds forever.
- Spam – if spammers use certain words and phrases (some that may not even be in English) you can mute the words or phrases every time.
- Curation – you can mute certain stuff so as to be able to have well curated feeds that only show the things you consider important.
Creating your own version of the internet doesn’t sound good:
Now, one can say that such a tool if rolled out across all platforms only helps create your own version of the internet – a universe where fake news, biases, hate and everything bad is only further amplified because it is the only thing you consume. And yes, to some extent one can argue that that’s true.
But isn’t that sort of the internet we already live in? What are the differences? People already only see and search for and interact with what they want to see. Social media companies already have algorithms tuned to show us what they believe we love. And we love the recommendations, now don’t we?
I don’t think having such tools will negatively affect the internet experience from what it already is right now. Such a tool only helps avoid certain content, not everything you hate on the internet. It would be good to see it rollout on platforms like YouTube at least.