Third party Twitter clients like Tweetbot have long supported muting accounts which probably helped to add value to their services, but Twitter is looking to take that feature in-house. Increasingly, as social media companies look to meet the expectations of Wall Street they start to eat up third party real estate in their ecosphere.
So, this may be Twitter's first steps in making many third party clients obsolete. It happens.
However, while end users may welcome the addition of muting to Twitter it doesn't mean advertisers won't be able to reach you, and that's where things get a little interesting. When users don't have as much control over their feeds they tend to suffer through the annoyances and just go with it. So, while you may like linking to a business partner, for example, you may not always appreciate every post or promotion.
Now, you can still follow but you can also choose to mute that relationship at will. It's kind of there if you need it, but not if you don't. No one is the wiser.
For the business partner, there was always a mathematical chance that average responses would mean that some form promotion would give some return because it was there. Now, the over-promotional business partner who you cannot stop following is not going to know that you've stopped caring. Maybe a lot of other business partners feel the same way.
The only way out of this predicament is to promote and pay for promotion of your message.
In other words, social media used to be about everyone butting into your conversation and activities, welcomed or unwelcomed, soliciting or not. Now, the soliciting types will pay whereas before they just pestered.
Yeah, it is good for the user. Definitely. For businesses that leverage social conversations to generate leads or create new business opportunities, social marketing is an ad budget line item. It changes the dynamics of the relationship between social media and the businesses that use it, particularly the smaller entities that don't have the budgets or resources to create effective social media campaigns and may have relied on pestering people into looking their way.
I am sure some marketing guru is going to say it is all about creating quality engagements but at the end of the day you just want to sell something and you are going to have to pay to advertise it. Doesn't matter if your ad is a banner, a poster, or 140 characters.