With the possible decline of App.net other services are once again waving at us. Services like Twitter. The service which I left because I didn't like the direction the company was taking and the service which I stayed away for more than a year because App.net felt like Twitter once felt: Like a place where you can meet friends and devolopers and can discuss in an open minded environment without haters.
Going to Twitter after a year of App.net is a cultural shock because of all the changes Twitter forced to its services. Clients died. There are forced ads and aggressive recommendations. People are posting tiny nonsense tweets and they retweet. Oh boy do they retweet! And on the technical side: Of course you still have no way to use real links with a title, mute hashtags or get threaded conversations instead of that guestbook-like flat list (and even this list does not show the full discussion but only direct mentions…). It feels like a jump back in time or into a parallel dimension, where everything is a bit odd. In the wrong way.
How can Twitter be a little bit like App.net? It can't. It's ridiculous, that Douglas Bowman tells us that Twitter "has always been about people" when it does not offer basic features like showing a complete discussion. Imagine a discussion board where you can only view a part of the discussion. Twitter is not made for discussions. It's made for exhibitionism.
Of course we can't change the technical limitations of the core service and build something Twitter in its core functionality does not offer. But with a decent Twitter client we can make our visits in the twitterverse less annoying.
Step 1: Fuck those ads!
At first, use no offical client and not the website. Most or all ads should disappear.
If you use the offical app and the ads annoy you, you can spamblock them. They will disappear immediately :).
Step 2: Use lists
Sometimes you have spammy accounts which you want to keep because you like the content. But. Not. In. Your. Timeline. So create a "High Traffic" list, unfollow the account and put the account in that list. This way your timeline is still usable and you have a nice and easy way to still view the tweets of that account.
Step 3: Mute
Mute everything you can which annoys you. Use a client like Tweetbot or Twitters own Tweetdeck to mute hashtags and keywords. I filter out things like #gm or #tgif and Strings like "Good morning". I also mute clients like Foursquare, because I really don't bother where people are. If I want to know I can ask ;).
If someone crashes a discussion and attacks you or starts trolling you just block them. Don't discuss. Don't react. Just block.
Step 4: Mute even more
Twitter is spammy. Even the people which post great stuff on App.net use Twitter differently. And, sorry guys, I just don't want to read your tweet with the content "haha!".
So mute it! Tweetbot supports regular expressions, so the following keyword filter mutes every Tweet which is too short to be of any relevance for my life:
I won't see these tweets any longer:
You dislike all those "gates" of the german Pirate Party? You can mute them as well:
Step 5: Mute Mute Mute
Retweets. I did like them. I really did. But now it seems that every person in my timeline retweets everything which they found just a bit interesting or entertaining. It annoys me. Thanksfully it's rather easy to get rid of the retweets. Even the offical Tweetdeck client offers a global switch to mute retweets. In Tweetbot you can Tap+Hold on a Retweet and then disable the retweets for the person which retweeted. I like Tweetdecks approach more, but after some minutes doing shit-work Tweetbot also mutes every retweet and the noise disappears from your timeline.
Step 6: Hide those links
Safari has a Twitter integration which displays every tweet which contains a link. Therefore you might want to try out how Twitter feels if you hide every tweet containing a link. In Tweetdeck just filter for "http" and in Tweetbot you have to create a regular expression keyword filter.
Typically, ⅓ of the tweets get muted. Mostly, ½ half of tweets.
Of course at some day Tweetbot will be dead. Let's hope that Tweetdeck will still be around at that specific day.