If you are like most scientists on twitter, you are probably hankering for the pre-Trump era when the platform was actually a fun tool to take in the latest science news, rather than a front-row seat to the apocalypse. In this post I will point out a simple tool you can use to have that experience back again while firmly making the caveat that you should remain politically engaged and active. Nevertheless, Twitter once fulfilled a useful and much needed community service, at which it is currently suffering. And effective resistance also requires you to carry on with your day job and not go totally mad. So use this to exert conscious control over when and how you intake news, and also to get back the refreshing ‘mostly science’ twitter experience. Don’t worry, the mobile version of twitter will still be an unrelenting hellstorm of bad news.
TweetDeck Political Blacklist
The trick is simple; install the tweetdeck extension, web app, or just navigate to it in your browser. If you’ve never used Tweetdeck, it was (in my opinion) the single best twitter app before Twitter purchased it. Since then not much new development has occurred, but the existing features are still excellent. Go ahead and set up some columns however you see fit. The feature you are most interested is the ‘Mute’ blacklist, which lets you specify lists of terms that twitter will filter from your feeds:
That’s it! You may need to play around with the filter phrases; I used a combination of politician’s names (‘trump’, ‘bannon’, ‘clinton’, ‘corbyn’, etc), big scandals, current events (i.e., #brexit), and other stuff. You will probably also want to turn off the auditory notifications, as TweetDeck turns them on by default and they can be rather annoying. Now you can surf the latest science news without second by second updates that make you want to move to New Zealand.
Once again folks, use this responsibly! I use this for my twitter breaks when i’m at work (for ‘productive procrastination’), but since it doesn’t work on mobile anyway, I stay up to date at a pace of my choosing. Exerting deliberate control over your news intake is a key element to #persistent #resistance.
Edit: A reader on twitter points out that Plume offers the same ability on a mobile platform!