A couple of months ago, Twitter introduced the mute button. You don’t feel like reading all these tweets of an overly active tweep, but you don’t want to unfollow him – you mute him. You are afraid that the count of Followers on your dashboard will decrease – you press Mute and not Unfollow. You can still see when the muted user favorites, retweets or replies to your tweet. Really, the only difference is that you get to keep that reciprocal following. It is just that.

I imagine Twitter wanted to increase the opportunity for users to gain more followers hoping for increasing the engagement. After all research shows that accounts with more than 1000 followers generate 96% of the traffic. Interesting, isn’t it?

This week Twitter reported 271Mn monthly active users (growing with 6.3% against Q1 2014). Dick Costolo also mentioned that somewhere between 2 to 3 times more are exposed to Twitter content…

There was a huge hype prior to Twitter’s IPO. Then there were the results of the Q1 2014… They disappointed many. On one side, monetization n Twitter is still a challenge. And on another, to monetize you need users. The more users are exposed to your sponsored content, the more chance you’ve got to convert, sell, impress, activate and other marketing action verbs. And Twitter does work on both fronts.

It would be ridiculous of me to allocate that 6.3% growth to the introduction of the mute button, but I bet you 10 bucks that it has a play in it.

Last month I embarked on Twitter research journey. I wanted to see how users react on a follow. Twitter’s “Who to follow” was a natural start. But then I needed some more data to make my analysis better. So I got myself a SocialBro account. And while I am still in the middle of my little project, I can say that out of the 2000-2500 users I have followed, I have received a reciprocal follow only by 300. Getting more followers is not an easy thing.

But how is this related to the mute button? Usage – this is the explanation.  By introducing a halfway functionality between follow and unfollow is something that Twitter needed. It sure does help users to feel comfortable suing the platform and take more risk when following new users and ramping that Followers number up or remaining stable.  And this is what I believe Dick Costolo & Co tried to do.

Mute at will! But before you do, let me know what is your take on it!

Copyright © 2014 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.