For the next 30 days or so, you’re going to be bombarded with tweets, photos, stories and posts about the 2013 Federal Election. We’re only on the third day of the election campaign, and already it’s exhausting listening to it non-stop. Here’s how to sanitise your social media feeds of everything election-related to preserve your sanity.
Image: Stephen Postiles/Getty
Social media is where this campaign will try and hit its audience the hardest. Sure, Betty in Blacktown will be watching the 6pm news for a daily dose of campaign sound-bites, but those of us who live online will be bombarded 24/7 by campaign factoids and 140-character platform extracts. Here’s how to sort it out.
Journalists, news outlets, MPs, aides and Joe Blow on the street are all tweeting about the election, but that doesn’t mean you have to see it. A swathe of Twitter clients actually support what are known as Mute Filters, which allow you to selectively tune out of issues.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to mute hashtags, users or clients on Twitter.com. We want to tune something out and then easily tune back in when the election is over. Presumably, we don’t want the person to know you’re censoring them from your world for the next month, so blocking them is out of the question, as is unfollowing them. Doing either would also deprive you of their tweets that aren’t about who’s going to get Australia’s top job. TO solve our mute dilemma then, we’ll have to use a Twitter client.
Tweetdeck is still one of the best clients out there for PC, Mac and mobile, and it’s what we’re going to use to have an election-free month.
Simply jump into your preferences on either the PC or Mac version and jump into the Mute tab. From there, you can shut down anything you want: users, other clients and the all-important hashtags.
You’ll need to tweak your Mute filters over time for total election censorship, but it’s best to start by muting the #auspol and #ausvotes hashtags, which are the two main tags that will be used between now and September 7. From there, you can find users who are tweeting about the election outside of those hashtags and mute them accordingly.
If you’re a Mac user and want something with a little more grunt than Tweetdeck, we’d recommend Tweetbot.
Facebook is a little more difficult.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook has made a few changes to the way it surfaces content in your News Feed these days, allowing the social network to learn what you like and dislike to see.
Again, like Twitter, the goal here isn’t to block or unfriend someone between now and September: they’ll likely do other stuff that doesn’t offend you like the election does between now and then. What we want to do is just excuse the political material.
By clicking the drop-down arrow next to the post, you’re given the option to hide content you don’t like.
Here, Lifehacker editor Angus Kidman is derping on about the election, but it’s not something I want to see.
I’ll change my preferences for what I want to see from Angus, and hopefully after a few goes at it, Facebook will figure out that keywords like Rudd, Abbott and election are things I don’t want.
Alternatively, you can go all out and hide the person from your News Feed for as long as you like. Don’t worry, they won’t know you’ve hidden them.
If you’re a Chrome user, you can install this nifty little app called Silencer which gives you total control over what you do and don’t see.
It should go without saying, but lets say it anyway: just because you can watch 24-hour news coverage doesn’t always mean you should.
Your social networks can be sanitised of electoral content between now and September 7, but if you go self-trolling then that’s on you.
What’s your best social media censorship tip? Let us know in the comments…