“Excuse me, honey. What did you say? I wasn’t paying attention.”

These words — or some very similar — are uttered in living rooms around the world every evening and now Twitter is bringing the same phenomena to the online world.

The latest version of Twitter’s iOS and Android apps includes a mute feature.

Simply put, when you hit the Twitter mute button for people you follow, you’re still subscribing to their feeds, but they are removed from the content you see until you “unmute” them.

If you’ll let me go back to comparing the Twitter relationship to a marriage, the danger of the Twitter mute feature is that it could be a trial separation that leads to eventual divorce. You obviously don’t want that, so it’s smart to know what kind of Twitter behavior can prompt your small business followers to hit the mute button.

Tweet frequency

Frankly, all the conventional wisdom tells us that we need to tweet rather frequently to get the kind of branding horsepower out of it that we desire. Many social media mavens recommend as many as 14 tweets a day, Monday through Friday; about half that on the weekends.

But if you’re consistently churning out 14 tweets a day, is that enough to push the needle on the “Annoyance Meter” into the red and motivate followers to hit mute? The general answer is no, but here’s the caveat: your content must be consistently informative and/or engaging.

When you give some thought to your tweets, this shouldn’t be a problem. Ask yourself: Will my followers like this? Step outside of yourself for a moment and try to honestly judge the quality of your content from the perspective of your follower.

What to avoid

Here are a couple instances when I think your followers might be inclined to mute you:

You’re at an event and you get so overwhelmed by the experience that you go into “moment-by-moment tweet mode.” Everything you’re seeing and hearing is knocking your figurative socks off and you want to share it. Don’t. Be more thoughtful. You aren’t Beyonce getting ready to go onstage at London’s O2 Arena.

In a situation like this, collect your thoughts, take photos when appropriate, and publish solid content throughout your social media platforms. This also allows you to make better, more strategic use of the information you’ve gathered.

It’s also possible to irritate your followers by engaging in a prolonged, visible conversation over Twitter. Twitter is a great place to connect and share ideas, but when a conversation begins to clog up other people’s feeds, you’ll start to have a problem.

When you feel a conversation is getting a little out of hand, suggest switching channels before other users decide to hit their mute button.

Happy Tweeting!

Do you have any Twitter pet peeves? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Susan Solovic is THE Small Business Expert. Sign up for Susan’s Success Tips Newsletter and get your free copy of “Smart Marketing Strategies for Small Biz” ebook.