Side Note

Finally, you’ll be able to mute people on Instagram

Girl frowns at her phone, so tempted to unfollow you

Girl frowns at her phone, so tempted to unfollow you

We’re slowly inching towards a future where you no longer have to deal with the “I know what you did, and you know what you did” unease that comes with seeing friends in real life who you’ve recently unfollowed online. Instagram is rolling out a feature that will allow users to mute accounts they do not want to see on their feeds. Accounts that have been muted will not be notified, making it more discreet than a full-fledged unfollow. This new feature will probably get a lot of use; it has certainly been popular on Twitter.

Instagram is riddled with the usual, aggravating social media presences. The provocateur who relishes in their ability to create heated arguments in their comments section. The constant poster, who provides a relentless stream of identically posed selfies. The nosy relatives, doting and critical, who throw etiquette to the wind when you post a photo announcing a life change. Hitting unfollow is never easy; the ability to mute someone saves us from the burden of dealing with hurt feelings. Appearing like we’re paying attention is cowardly in its own way, but as a way to preserve some IRL relationship with an annoying URL persona, it has its merits.

However, Instagram still tips off users that they have been blocked by another. There doesn’t seem to be a way around that, and it may be the last social sting we must face on the app.