Twitter has finally decided to add a feature that has been present on Twitter apps like Tweetdeck for a while - an option to "mute" people you follow.
In the same way you can turn on device notifications so you never miss a Tweet from your favorite users, you can now mute users you'd like to hear from less. Muting a user on Twitter means their Tweets and Retweets will no longer be visible in your home timeline, and you will no longer receive push or SMS notifications from that user. The muted user will still be able to fave, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won't see any of that activity in your timeline. The muted user will not know that you've muted them, and of course you can unmute at any time.
Muting strikes at one of the oddest conventions of social media interaction. We feel obligated, either socially or professionally, to follow people that we may not necessarily want to interact with, and so social media networks build out ways to circumnavigate those people. Facebook has been at the forefront of this, creating ways to tailor your message to narrow bands of followers, hide people from your feed, and so on.
Being a part of people's online lives is so important to us that we do it even though they may be totally ignoring us. We just want to be followed and friended. I know I do.
On the plus side, it will now allow all of the people who feel obligated to follow me to ignore the garbage I tweet all day and night.