Major events like the 2012 London Olympics tend to turn otherwise tolerable Twitter users into garrulous would-be sportscasters. Fortunately, you don't have to permanently unfollow that tweet-happy pal of yours whose play-by-play recaps of women's beach volleyball are driving you crazy. Now you can just put him in the doghouse.
Twitter DogHouse is the name of a new third-party app that allows Twitter users to temporarily unfollow annoying tweeps and then re-follow them again after a preset amount of time -- say three weeks from now after all the fanfare from London has finally died down. The app lets you unfollow someone for as little as one minute or as long as you want. The purpose, according to the app's developers, is to give users a way to reduce the clutter in their feeds and avoid seeing too many posts that they have no interest in.
"Social networking with Twitter is great except when the people you follow pollute your feed with sponsored spam, political flame wars, and live-tweets of some show or event you don't care about," the app's website says.
Twitter DogHouse was developed by Elan Dubrofsky and designed by Jure Stern, both Twitter users from Ottawa who created the app in response to a challenge posted on CloudSpokes -- a crowdsourcing website that matches companies with developers. For their DogHouse app, Dubrofsky and Stern nabbed first prize of $1,000, beating out 14 other challengers.
Twitter DogHouse allows users to discreetly unfollow people, but also gives users the option of calling out their offenders publicly. The app can be programmed to send a personal tweet that lets victims know when they're in the DogHouse, why they're being put there and when they will be released. ("You're going in my doghouse because you are yapping too much," according to the sample tweet shown on the website.)
However, not everyone in the Twitterverse thinks it's a good idea to openly reprimand fellow Twitter users for a few off-putting tweets. In a blog post early Monday, social-media writer Jim Dougherty called such behavior "caustic," even when it's supposedly all in good fun. "I've always felt that if you disagree with how someone is using their social network, it's much better to simply unfollow them than to chastise them for it," he wrote.
Others thought DogHouse sounded like the perfect tool to help manage the clutter produced by Twitter-heavy events. "It'll come in handy when SXSW rolls around," posted Twitter user Tom Jeffery.
Twitter DogHouse is a free third-party app built on the open-source framework Ruby on Rails. The code can be accessed on the software sharing website GitHub. The original CloudSpokes DogHouse challenge also sought a similar app that could be used with Facebook, so only time will tell if a Facebook DogHouse is coming our way soon.
Better go easy on sharing those Willy Wonka memes, just in case.