We all use social media in different ways. There are those who only use Twitter for news feeds, or to follow comedians. Some hate Facebook but can’t deny its ability to help grow a community around a business. But we've all been in that situation when a friend is a little bit offended we don’t follow them, even if their personal updates aren’t what you originally intended to be looking at every day. The solution? The Diplomatic Follow.
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Twitter has clearly been thinking about how to revamp its block button, and reduce the retaliatory harassment it can cause. And that’s an important thing for it to be worrying about - but I've long thought a Diplomatic Follow button would be a great addition to the feature list. Something that enables you to let someone know you care about what they post (even if you might not), or feed the ego of those who place personal value on a Twitter following, without actually spending mental energy on what they post.
Until such time, Twitter’s lists can be used as a makeshift screener for all the tweets you want to see. If you’re using Tweetdeck, you can add the news feeds, comedians, or whatever your poison is to lists, and simply display the lists without the main feed. When we see a post by someone we like, it’s tempting to read it, so there’s a lot to be said for an “out of sight, out of mind” method to guard precious headspace. The best part is, if you do decide you want to catch up on so-and-so’s amazing lunch, the content is still there - just open the main feed, or even add everyone else to another list called “Catch-up” or “Social” or whatever you want.
Facebook has a similar functionality in the form of its friend groups and hiding options. This one’s a little clunkier, as it’s a lot more time-consuming to divide an entire friends list into groups than it is on Google+, and usually you’ll want to spend a bit of time seeing a new friend’s posts before relegating them to the Hidden Zone. Innocent until proven guilty, right?
So while it’s not ideal, you can either hide people as undesirable posts come up, or select an entire group of friends to not show up in your feed. This can be done with the existing Acquaintances group, and Facebook will try to automatically sort friends into this group, but don’t rely on that. It’ll take some good, old fashioned grunt work to make sure the right people are in the right groups. Once that's done, you can head to the Friends category in the left pane, select the group you want to edit, and click Manage List in the top right to select what shows up in your feed.
Are there any other incarnations of the Diplomatic Follow that you use? Let us know in the comments below!