MetaCert slows the social media firehose with Clarion, an extension that lets users hide ads, keywords, and people
I follow very few people on Twitter. Most are writers or journalists I admire; some are joke accounts like @TheBatman or @GooglePoetics; a few are friends or acquaintances. This leads to a low volume, high quality feed that feels more manageable than the feed I had to deal with back when I followed hundreds of (mostly random and vaguely obnoxious) people. But there is still one thing that sometimes takes hold of my feed and refuses to let go for hours on end: all the goddamn sports tweets.
It sometimes seems like the only thing tech journalists like tweeting about, more than the price of Bitcoin, is how well their favorite sports teams are doing. As someone who has yet to sit through an entire game of any kind — with the exception of the Super Bowl, mainly because of the commercials and a misplaced sense of American obligation — these tweets are exhausting. And that’s why Clarion, a tweet-filtering Chrome extension from MetaCert, is one of the best things I’ve downloaded in months.
Clarion removes specific tweets and people from your Twitter feed. It also hides promoted tweets, the ads displayed on the right-hand side of Facebook’s News Feed, and will eventually allow you to remove status updates containing certain keywords from your News Feed, too. It’s the digital equivalent to sticking your fingers in your ear and humming whenever someone says something you don’t want to hear, except it’s automatic and not nearly as childish. (That’s what I’ve told myself, anyway.)
“There’s a lot of spam on the Web right now, there’s a lot of irrelevant content. It’s not up to me to suggest or dictate what’s relevant for you, but you should be able to decide that and not be forced into the firehose of content,” says MetaCert CEO Paul Walsh. He compares Clarion to the natural selection that occurs offline, adding: “If I go to a networking event, I don’t want to be forced into listening to a conversation with every individual in the room. I want to be able to choose to either listen to every conversation or not listen to certain conversations.”
Clarion is currently a side project for MetaCert, but some of its functionalities will eventually find their way into the company’s main extension, which allows people to block inappropriate content from their browser. Walsh says that there are no plans to make a mobile equivalent to the extension; it’s just a little project that a former intern based in Ireland was tasked with creating as a break from working on the company’s main products.
This isn’t an earth-shattering tool. It won’t change the way many people interact with Twitter or Facebook. It’s unlikely to ever get the attention MetaCert’s other products and services receive. But it’s a compelling tool that does one thing — pruning irrelevant, disinteresting, or obnoxious things from the Twitter feed — rather well. If that’s all you expect from Clarion, it’s well worth the download.