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Mute Buttons: How to Silence the Impending Barrage of SXSW Tweets

SXSW is about to begin, which means endless drunken, bragging tweets from Austin. Here's how to stop them before they start.

South by Southwest, the music, film, and internet media festival convened annually in Austin, doesn't start until tomorrow. But already, the tweets have begun. Chances are that if you're a GOOD reader and a Twitter user, your timeline is seeing a big uptick in tweets about barbecue and panels, Lone Star and bands. Chances are also that if you're not going to SXSW, the last thing you want to see for the next two weeks is an endless stream tweets from people who are there, talking about which panels to attend, which rapper to see, which after-party has the best open bar.

But you don't have to abandon Twitter for two weeks in order to avoid excessive Austin-based bragging or a deluge of SXSW insider chatter. Below are several tricks to help you keep your Twitter timeline #SXSW free. Remember, too, that these tips work for other hashtags of non-interest, including #Oscars and #Grammys. Happy ignoring!

The Tweetdeck option:

If you're one of the many people who uses Tweetdeck to organize your Twitter life, filtering out SXSW tweets is easy: Go into settings, then choose "Global Filter," and then put "#SXSW," "SXSW," or even "Lone Star" into the "Containing Words" box. Just like that, it's as if SXSW isn't even happening.

The Tweetfilter option:

Tweetfilter is a very basic browser extension supporting Firefox 3.6+, Chrome 10+, Opera 11+, Safari 5+ and, heaven forbid, IE 9+. You can download it here. Not only will it allow you to ignore SXSW, it also has a host of other handy features, like shortened link expansion.

The Proxlet option:

If you use Google Chrome, Proxlet is a browser extension that specializes in Twitter filtering for you. It also supports TweetDeck, Twitter for iPhone, Twidroyd, and Spaz. Just like Tweetfilter, you can download it and be blocking all those people boasting about Texas barbecue in no time.

The Not at SXSW option:

While the above options allow you to filter out whichever hashtag or word you'd like to dismiss, Jake Archibald, a developer at Lanyrd, created the browser extension Not at SXSW specifically for the upcoming Austin festival. Not at SXSW grants you the same filtering functionality as the other options, but it also allows you to totally mute anyone at SXSW for the duration of their stay. It's a bit drastic, but if you really, really don't want to hear about SXSW, this is the choice for you.

You'll probably notice that I haven't explained how to filter undesirable things out using plain old Twitter. That's because Twitter doesn't offer a filter option, forcing people to look elsewhere to make their timeline more reflective of the things they enjoy. There's obviously a market for filtration, so perhaps some Twitter folk at SXSW can figure out how to incorporate it into the site's next update. Lucky for you, no matter what they do, you won't have to listen: You'll have them blocked.

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