The Super Bowl is not only one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year, but one of the most watched events around the world. In fact, this year’s 46th Super Bowl is expected to be the “most watched TV show, ever.” As access to the Internet becomes easier across the globe, more people are able to tune in simultaneously to watch this year’s AFC and NFC champions compete for the NFL title on February 5th, 2012. Of course, this also means that more people than ever will tweet about the event, not only on February 5th, but leading up to the main event. While you may enjoy using Twitter on a daily basis, you’re sure to start seeing your Twitter stream, feeds, and columns start being flooded with tweets about the Super Bowl. If you’re not a sports fan, or aren’t amused by expensive commercials that you can later watch again (and again… and again…) on YouTube, you may want to block these tweets about the Super Bowl entirely. Luckily, there are a few extensions and tools that you can use to keep the Super Bowl hype muted and continue on with the next few weeks in peace.
Do you have a few football fanatic Twitter users whom you’re following? If they can’t stop talking about the upcoming game, you can block these Twitter users temporarily on Twitter.com. To block a user, click on their Twitter name and, next to the Follow button, you’ll see an icon resembling a person. Click on this button to open a list from which you can choose to block that Twitter user. Don’t worry — they won’t be notified of your annoyance with their tweets, but you might want to remember to unblock them after February 5th if you want to resume reading their normal tweets.
If you use Google Chrome to read Twitter via Twitter.com and want to block all tweets related to the Super Bowl during the next few weeks and through the big game, we suggest installing an extension that allows you to block these tweets while on the Web. One of the best and most reliable extensions to block tweets about specific topics is Slipstream. This extension installs into Google Chrome in just seconds, and works by allowing you to define what tweets to block by excluding tweets that contain certain words or phrases.
After installing Slipstream, visit Twitter.com and search for the terms you don’t want to see anymore. For example, you may want to search for terms like #SuperBowl, #Indianapolis, #Patriots, or #Giants, which are likely going to be the most talked about terms related to this year’s Super Bowl (for obvious reasons). Once you’ve found the term you want to hide from your Twitter stream on Twitter.com, click the new Hide option you’ll see in each tweet.
Then, Slipstream will appear on the side and offer to define what specifically you want to silence. To block Super Bowl tweets, you can input all of the terms you think might generate a Super Bowl related tweet — such as the ones I just suggested. You can either block all tweets containing the term, effectively removing Super Bowl tweets from Twitter, or you can block individual users tweeting these terms.
For those using all other browsers, including Firefox 3.6+, Opera 11+, Safari 5+, and IE 9+, we recommend a similar extension called Tweetfilter, which also features the ability to block specific keywords and phrases from your Twitter stream.
If you use TweetDeck on your desktop, you can easily block Super Bowl related terms with just a few clicks. In the “new” TweetDeck (with the blue icon), all you need to do is click the gear icon, select Settings, and then choose Global Filter. To block Super Bowl related tweets, select the Text Content filter, and enter a term in the Source field related to the Super Bowl, such as #superbowl. You will no longer see any tweets containing this word.
For those still using the “old” TweetDeck (with the yellow icon), click on the settings icon in the top right corner and then Global Filter. You can customize your filter options a bit more than with the “new” TweetDeck, but again, be sure to filter out the content you don’t want to see.
For both versions, you will need to create a new filter for each term you want to filter out, so you may still see a Super Bowl related tweet sneak through if someone mentions Peyton Manning’s name and you don’t filter him out, too.
The Rest of You
Unfortunately, for those of you who use HootSuite or most other third-party tools, there is limited functionality to block specific hashtags. iPhone users may want to consider using Tweetbot as their third-party Twitter app, which features the ability to mute incoming certain hashtags or keywords. While the new Twitter app for iPhone is a much-needed improvement over previous versions, it notably lacks this necessary feature. Tweetbot is $2.99 in the iTunes App Store and offers dozens of other features as well. For the rest of you, you may be forced to either endure a flood of football-related tweets for the next few weeks — or consider switching your Twitter clients to avoid the fanfare.
How do you avoid tweets you don’t want to read? Share your favorite third-party clients, tools, tricks or tips in the comments below.