Last night Twitter announced an update to their notifications system so that you now get an email each time somebody that you follow retweets or favourites one of your tweets.
Email notifications have been a huge boon for Facebook because they keep those all-important users coming back to the platform again, and again, and again. For Twitter, which has always had a problem converting and keeping new signups, this could and should be huge. When you’re beginning your journey on a social network, you positively yearn for attention. An email letting you know that somebody has connected with you in some way is very welcome.
But what about people who aren’t new? What about those people who get dozens and dozens of replies, retweets and favourites each and every day? What about those people who don’t like email notifications from Facebook, and have long-since turned them off? And what about those people who consistently strive for the ever-desirable inbox zero?
If that sounds like you, then Twitter’s notifications are a total pain in the derriere, falling somewhere between clutter and spam. Here’s how to get rid of them.
Before we do – and just in case you’re not convinced if you want these emails or not – if you leave your settings on Twitter at their defaults you’ll now receive these notifications in your inbox:
- Each time you’re sent a direct message
- Each time you’re sent a reply or mentioned *
- Each time somebody new follows you
- Each time one of your tweets is favourited *
- Each time you’re retweeted *
- Updates about new Twitter products, features and tips
- Product or service updates related to your account
* Important: Twitter says these will only be from people you are following, but this is not true. Right up until I switched them off, I had email notifications about some of these things today from people I am positively not following. Either it’s buggy or they’ve made a mistake. Note that in your Settings page it does not mention that notifications will only be from people you are following (see screenshot below).
That’s seven different types of email. On any given day, if you’re popular enough you could be looking at potentially hundreds of notifications cluttering up your inbox. As anyone who struggles with the day-to-day volume of email will testify, that’s really the last thing you’ll ever want.
Here’s what you need to do to resolve this issue:
- Log on to Twitter.com
- Click on Settings, and then Notifications
- Uncheck anything that you won’t want
For example, here’s a screenshot of my Notifications settings:
You’ll note I only receive emails when I get a direct message (which isn’t that often, primarily because I’m selective about who I follow which means I don’t get bothered by spammers, mass marketers and good, old-fashioned weirdos), and the occasional updates from Twitter (simply because I write about Twitter). I have no interest whatsoever in emails about replies or mentions, new followers, favourites or retweets. Why? Because I’m very active on Twitter, and can get all that information in just a few seconds in either HootSuite or Twitter.com, both of which I have open pretty much all the time. And if I’m on the move, Twitter For iPhone and HootSuite For iPad do the job nicely, thank you very much.
Your mileage may vary. If you’re new to Twitter, rarely find yourself sitting by a computer and/or dip in and out of the service a lot, these notifications could be of considerable value. And they definitely have value for Twitter, as I said. But for anyone who’s even remotely active on the network, regular notification emails can be a real nuisance, to a point where they can actually be detrimental to your enjoyment of a service – particularly if you have email on your phone.
So, spend a bit of time in your settings and opt out accordingly. You can always opt back in, after all. In the meantime, it might just save your inbox. And your relationship with Twitter.
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