October 10, 2023
X (formerly Twitter) aspires to be the global town square, and despite recent changes to the platform, it's still a critical digital hub when major world events occur. If you don't want to see or engage in the conversation about a particular event, whether it's a football game, awards ceremony, or a geopolitical crisis, you can mute keywords in order to reduce the noise. This tactic is also handy when there's an annoying meme going around that you can't escape. Muting a keyword will hide any posts that use that keyword from your timeline, and if you choose, your mentions as well.
The short answer is: whenever you want. No one can see your mutes, you can choose whether to extend the mute to your mentions or just your timeline, and they're completely reversible at any time, so there's no long-term downside.
However, you may especially want to consider muting when a particular discourse is affecting your ability to get the benefits you normally receive from the platform, whether that be entertainment, education, professional insight, or ability to connect and communicate with your fans or stakeholders. In particular, if you are required to be on the platform for professional reasons, either as a part of your job or in support of your career, consider spending the time to define and enforce your boundaries so you are not exposed to content that will negatively affect your mental health.
Muting a single term is unlikely to remove all conversation about a topic from your timeline. Your goal should be to cover the cluster of words, phrases, and hashtags that will eliminate the majority of related posts from your timeline. In particular, it's worth brainstorming:
* Both names and handles of major participants, whether that be companies, people, events, or countries
* Related hashtags, if it's an event
Be sure to add quotation marks around any multi-word phrases you mute.
You can also choose to mute — either temporarily or indefinitely — accounts that are specifically focused on that topic and are getting shared widely. And if you did previously post about the topic, but no longer want to engage, you can mute replies to your previous posts.
If you're concerned that you need to mute terms that normally appear in content you *do* want to see, you can choose to automatically unmute after 24 hours, 7 days, or 30 day. The half-life of conversations on X is often quite short, and you can always test out unmuting to see if your timeline has improved. Keep a copy of your keyword mute list before you remove the terms, though; otherwise, you'll have to manually reconstruct the list, and may miss terms you'd already caught.
Adding keywords to mute is straightforward, if a bit cumbersome. If you plan to mute words regularly, you should consider bookmarking the relevant page in settings, as it's a bit buried.
Here's how to do it:
You can choose to extend temporary mutes by returning to the muted keywords page, clicking the term, and choosing the new duration.
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