Twitter is a bad website filled with bots, misinformation, and most importantly, people you just don’t want to hear from. It could also get worse soon.
If you haven’t already, you’ll undoubtedly take a second to reconsider your tweeting habits going forward amidst a potential ownership shift to the site’s most annoying poster, Elon Musk. Musk may actually follow through with his plan to ease the site’s moderation practices, allowing people you really don’t want to interact with to flood your mentions if you say something that doesn’t tickle their fancies.
Having swarms of bots, losers, or other malcontents in your notifications tab can be enough to dissuade you from tweeting at all. There isn’t a perfect solution to this, but there is one little box you can check in your Twitter settings to (mostly) rid yourself of these pests. I did this a couple of years ago and it made Twitter infinitely more tolerable.
Here’s how you can live a more peaceful life tweeting about lunch and joking with your pals like I do.
How to mute notifications from strangers on Twitter
First, some context. I don’t have a massive Twitter account following or anything, but I’ve got enough followers that every now and then one of my stupid thoughts blows up well past its intended audience. People see a blue checkmark next to something like “it should be legal to eat pizza out of bowls” (that one, sadly, didn’t actually go viral) and decide it must be important enough to retweet. I appreciate the love, but I don’t appreciate when people who don’t know me or don’t understand what jokes are decide they need to tell me about it.
People on Twitter love doing that! I can’t stop them, but I can ensure I never need to see it. If you’re in a similar boat, where you’d only like to see responses from people you have some familiarity with (but don’t want to lock your account down), follow these simple steps:
Go to the “Settings and privacy” menu
Click “Privacy and safety”
Click “Mute and block,” then click “Muted notifications”
Check the box next to “Who don’t follow you”
The most useful settings on Twitter, by far.
Credit: Screenshot: Twitter
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, this feature will automatically filter out any likes, retweets, quote retweets, and mentions you get from anyone who doesn’t already follow you. There are also a bunch of other options in the same menu for muting notifications from people with new accounts, unconfirmed email addresses, and so on, if you want to weed out bots and burner accounts while you’re at it.
But in my experience, I’ve found that just getting rid of people who don’t already rock with me has improved Twitter considerably. Sometimes I share opinions about politics, sports, Elon Musk, cryptocurrency, and other things that can make annoying people very upset with me. Of course, I don’t think my thoughts are all that controversial, but that’s just me.
The important part is that, after checking that box, I never have to know about it. The other day, someone let me know that a tweet of mine had appeared under a particularly noxious trending topic. I’m sure someone out there in the Twitter wilderness thought it necessary to yell at me about it. They’re free to shout into the void, but I’m also free to go about my damn business, blissfully unaware that it’s happening.
Allow me, dear reader, to bestow this same freedom unto you. Go and tweet unburdened by the dregs of social media. I promise it’ll help.