Yes, it’s true: Elon Musk has officially taken the reins at Twitter. And as expected, there are quite a few people who aren’t happy about the news, as they have voiced their concerns that a Musk-helmed Twitter could be more susceptible to more of the toxicity and abuse that the bird app already struggles with. Deleting your Twitter account is certainly a viable option that many are considering — and hey, more power to you ifthat’s what you decide.
- Get away from the main timeline
- Tweet to smaller audiences with Twitter Circle
But here are two things you can do to make the days ahead a bit more bearable without having to resort to muting a bunch of words or leaving Twitter altogether.
Get away from the main timeline
When you’re scrolling through endless tweets on your timeline, it’s easy to think that that’s all there is to Twitter. And that’s actually not true. At least not as of recently. Twitter has other ways of sharing and consuming content that isn’t about just having to put up with whatever you see in your main timeline. And these other ways are actually whole sections of the bird app that are separate from the main timeline, giving you a break from others’ rants or mean tweets or arguments.
Twitter Communities is an interesting, fairly recent addition to Twitter. It’s a feature that allows users to create communities around a specific interest (in the same vein as Facebook Groups and Reddit’s subreddits). Twitter Communities are basically their own, usually moderated timelines that are separate from the main timeline you’d normally browse in Twitter. So for example, if you joined a Twitter Community all about baking, the tweets in that Community’s timeline would only come from members of that Community and those tweets would only be about baking and they’d have to follow the rules posted in that Community. And if you tweet to a Community you’re a part of, only members of that Community will see it and that tweet doesn’t get posted to your profile.
Twitter Communities’ current setup is actually kind of perfect for someone who wants to stay on the bird app, but needs to escape the chaos of the main timeline from time to time. The combinatio of pretty robust moderation from Community moderators and the fact that these communities are designed to stay on topic (a topic that you choose to engage with in the first place by joining a Community) means Twitter Communities could be an opportunity for users to have the best of both worlds: having access to interesting curated content from people with similar interests, plus a potentially calmer, less toxic social experience.
It is worth noting however, that the above could still change, as the feature and its communities are still growing. And so it remains to be seen if Twitter Communities will follow in the footsteps of its predecessors — Facebook Groups and the subreddits of Reddit — both of which have earned reputations for toxicity and abuse.
But for now, if the community moderation in Twitter Communities holds up, exploring Twitter Communities is still a viable alternative to leaving Twitter.
Twitter’s Lists feature
An oldie but a goodie. Twitter’s Lists feature has been around for years, but it’s still a useful tool for curating the content you see on the bird app around the topics that you actually care about. The concept is simple. On Twitter, a List is a custom list of Twitter accounts. When you make one, Twitter automatically gathers the latest tweets tweeted by the accounts you chose to add to a List and essentially creates a separate timeline of those tweets that you can then scroll through.
For example, say you only care about food and cooking content. You would then create a List and then add all the cooking- and food-themed Twitter accounts you love to that list. When you view that List, Twitter will automatically populate a timeline of tweets tweeted by those accounts and display them on a page dedicated to your list. You can scroll through that timeline and interact with those tweets as you normally would.
With a List, you’re not stuck scrolling through a million tweets about the latest Discourse or getting caught up in the bird app’s latest Main Character story. You can just use your Lists to escape to a world of curated collections of tweets centered around your interests.
The catch here is is that you need to make sure the accounts you pick for each List will stay on topic and avoid the Discourse. Luckily, you can edit the members (those Twitter accounts you picked) of your list whenever you want.
Twitter’s Audio section (the Spaces tab)
Twitter also isn’t only about tweets. Twitter recently brought podcasts to its Spaces tab on its mobile app. You can now listen to podcasts on the bird app and attend Spaces, which are live audio conversations. So far, the podcasts featured in the Spaces tab seem to be automatically curated by Twitter to reflect topics you already actively follow on Twitter.
Exploring Twitter’s new audio content could be a way to discover content without relying on the main timeline so much. And you might be less likely to get caught up in pointless Twitter arguments if you were instead listening to podcasts.
Tweet to smaller audiences with Twitter Circle
giving you all Twitter Circle because sometimes your Tweets aren’t for everyone
add up to 150 people to yours and use it. please. pic.twitter.com/D6AE4OhRX5
— Twitter (@Twitter) August 30, 2022
Encountering toxic or abusive tweets and content may not be the only thing you’re worried about when it comes to Twitter’s uncertain future. You may also be concerned about how other users will respond to your tweets and content. It’s not uncommon for Twitter users to get bombarded with negative responses to something they tweeted. Sometimes a tweet can go viral for all the wrong reasons and suddenly your mentions are in shambles. You can mute the notifications for a tweet, delete the tweet, or even change who can reply to the tweet later. But sometimes prevention is better and it’s best for certain tweets to not have the chance to go viral at all by really restricting the audience who can see it in the first place.
If you’ve got a particularly spicy hot take you just have to tweet out, it may be best to utilize a recently released feature called Twitter Circle instead of just blasting out the tweet for the whole world to see.
Twitter Circle is a feature that lets you tweet to a very exclusive audience on Twitter: a “circle” of up to 150 people that you handpick yourself. This means that if you choose to tweet something to your Twitter Circle, then only the members of that Circle will be able to see it in their timelines. It’s also worth noting that your Circle tweets can’t be retweeted, which makes it harder for those tweets to go viral.
If Twitter does turn out to be more chaotic and toxic in the future, Twitter Circle could be a useful way to mitigate that toxicity by allowing you to have more control over who your audience is for certain tweets.