There’s a fine line between “I just want you to shut up for one damn minute” and “I’m going to unfollow you.” Or, at least, that’s the premise of a new feature introduced by Handmark for Tweetcaster Thursday, called, appropriately enough, “Zip it.”
And literally enough, the feature actually displays a zipper graphic in place of those “zipped” users and hashtags when next they appear in your stream.
We’ve all experienced friends going on drunken rants, having our Twitter streams blown out by their serial posting. It’s one of the perks of mobile technology. You can just as easily post while at your desk as you can in between spilling beer on NYU coeds at the White Horse Tavern.
Maybe there are other times where you are just burned out on a topic (say the AZ shooting) and you don’t want to see any tweets relating to it.
This all can lead to you exclaiming, as the French say, “ferme la bouche!”
The feature offers a temporary solution. When you want to check back in to see if your friend is still an asshole once he’s sobered up, you unzip him. (As dirty as that sounds, the zipper graphic doesn’t help).
To zip content so it no longer shows up on Tweetcaster you swipe your finger across the offending tweet from left to right. This takes you to an option asking which part you want to zip, including the tweeter, all handles mentioned and any hashtags. To unzip, you swipe right to left when the zipper graphic shows up in your stream.
A few caveats: You have no way of keeping track of what you’ve zipped, and to find out what lies behind a zipper you have to unzip it (or else there would be little point of the function). And hashtags are so varied and diverse that zipping one, while possibly providing some level of satisfaction, might do little to actually silence a topic. While a cute idea, it seems of little actual use. In most cases where you’d be motivated to zip something you’d probably just want to go the full-unfollow-Monty.
Much more useful and totally worth upgrading for is the addition of an Instapaper integration also included in the Tweetcaster upgrade. Now clicking on a link offers an option to “read later with Instapaper.”
If the “Zip It” function actually sent an electric shock to offending tweeters it might rise to this level of usefulness.
By John Capone