How to declutter your Twitter timeline

I recently changed my Twitter iPhone app from Tweetbot 3 to the default Twitter iOS app.

Twitter for iOS app is largely good. But I noticed that my Twitter timeline both in the browser and iPhone app got noisy than they should be for the fifty people I follow. This is making me spend (not waste) more time than I would like to spend on Twitter. The clutter also means the actual tweets from the people I follow, the tweets I would love to see, are buried in the noise. This made me feel like I am missing important tweets.

I only ever wanted to see the tweets from the people I very carefully and deliberately choose to follow, in the order they are tweeted. Nothing more.

On a deeper look, I noticed that Twitter is not just showing me the tweets from the people I follow, but also the tweets liked (marked ♥️) by the people I follow as well as the conversations the people I follow are having with other people I don’t follow.

This has been a great revelation for me! This is my first-hand experience of Twitter’s aggressiveness and setting the defaults that work better for Twitter but cleverly wrapped as what I likely care about most.

For many weeks I thought there is no way around it and felt like I have to live with it. But having had enough, this week I decided to check if there is a way to declutter my timeline. I poked around the settings on my Twitter account and found this gem (in the red box) at https://twitter.com/settings/account:

Turn off best / top Tweets in Twitter web app.

Clicking the blue Learn more link took me to What’s in your Home timeline page on which I found this:

You can choose between viewing the top Tweets first or the latest Tweets first in your timeline (Twitter for iOS and Android only). Top Tweets are ones you are likely to care about most, and we choose them based on accounts you interact with most, Tweets you engage with, and much more. You can find instructions on how to toggle between the two timeline views below.


So instead of showing me what I want to see (latest Tweets), Twitter is showing what it wants me to see (top Tweets)!

At the end of the same help page, I also found the instructions to turn off Top Tweets in the iOS and Android apps.

Turn off best / top Tweets in Twitter mobile apps.

So changing the Twitter’s default settings by turning off Show the best Tweets first in the browser and toggling to latest Tweets in the iOS app made my twitter timeline much cleaner and calmer in both the places I check my tweets.

Barring these little annoyances, Twitter is the only social network I use and find really helpful by being deliberate about who I choose to follow, and override some of its default settings I mentioned in this post.

Gave up on Mac’s Hot Corners

I recently learned some Mac tips and one of the things I was excited about and tried is Hot Corners. But after a few months of trying them they proved to be Annoying Corners. I often accidentally send my mouse pointer to one of the corners of the screen and invoke them inadvertently. So I disabled Hot Corners today.

I am hoping to instead add a few more multi-touch gestures to my finger memory. Multi-touch gestures are intuitive, fun, and make me feel like I am a pro Mac Book Pro user. So far I am loving the gestures which means I will practice them more.

Apps and attention

I started reading Raptitude from last year and it quickly became one of my favorite blogs.

The recent post, How Billionaires Stole My Mind, opened up my mind to how social media companies compete for our attention first thing in the morning and succeed in distracting us.

After reading this post, I also deleted Tweetbot app from my iPhone. Twitter now joins the ranks of Facebook, Instagram and other social apps that have no place on my iPhone.

And despite Outlook’s frequent nagging, its notifications remain turned off. The only three apps I allow notifications are: WordPress, Slack and WhatsApp. These three apps are important to me.

I urge you to reconsider and be deliberate about which apps and notifications you allow on your phone. Just because your phone has a lot of space (mine has 128 GB) doesn’t mean you need to install lot of apps and worse still, scroll through their feeds unconsciously.

WiFi and VPN

I usually don’t offer free advice. But I will make an exception this time for the greater good.

Don’t connect your phone and computer to public WiFi networks without VPN.

Install VPN software in your computer and phone and turn that on every time you are about to hook on to public WiFi.

But how? Ask Google. There are many free VPN services for Windows and Mac; iPhone and Android.

Using any VPN software is magnitude better than using none to protect your privacy and security. You don’t need to be a celebrity to get snooped or hacked.