Twalala: Twitter with a Mute Button

Man, sounds like I missed out on a blast at Rails Rumble 2008. What’s Rails Rumble?

Spend the weekend of October 18th and 19th with us, designing, developing, and deploying the micro application you’ve been dreaming about.

So, eat burritos and code for an entire weekend. One of these days, I’ll be able to pull something like that off.

This year, Providence Geeks rock stars Matt Gillooly (@mattgillooly), Alex Taylor (@goldenmeanie), TJ Sondermann (@sondernagle) and Steve Babigian (@k00k) formed a team. And they came up with something awesome.


Twalala is a web-based Twitter client (I just happen to be running it as a site-specific browser using in the screenshot above). Why does the world need another Twitter client? Because this one solves a problem that nobody else does.

Twalala is “Twitter with a mute button”. Why would you want to mute something in Twitter? Here are a few examples I can come up with:

Here’s where you set your muting preferences:

Twalala Settings

“No Thanks” includes phrases you want cut from your stream. “I Didn’t Mean You!” is a whitelist. You can add phrases or usernames that will be allowed through, even if other parts of the message are muted per the filters above it. Finally, “Take a Timeout” mutes everything by a specific user.

When something is white-listed through the “I Didn’t Mean You!” portion, it is highlighted in your stream (see my “twalala” tweet from the first screenshot). Very cool for your ego, when you can easily see if someone mentions you or your company.

After just two days of development, Twalala is surprisingly robust. Every time I accessed it over the weekend, something was new, tweaked, or fixed. Of course, there are still a few things missing to make me completely ditch Hahlo, but I’m sure they’re coming. Those things are:

I love where this is headed, though. It even looks great on iPhone after a double-tap (one of my requirements for a Twitter client is consistent user experience on iPhone and in-browser).

Great job, guys!

Please, give Twalala a try.


  1. On October 20th, 2008 at 11:36 am Sara Streeter said:

    I checked out Twalala because of your blog post and the energetic tweeting over the weekend from the Providence folks – very intuitive user interface and useful concept-turned-app. Thanks Adam for the write-up and thanks to the developers!

  2. On October 20th, 2008 at 12:08 pm Emlyn said:

    Definitely a cool concept.

    I wish there was something like this for Facebook (no Aunt Minnie, I don’t want you to be my friend OR follow your doggie’s vet experiences!).

    My 2 cents: Make the individual mute filters shareable–as searchable add-ons (by keyword) for users who want to mute the same kinds of things as you do (except maybe Aunt Minnie).

  3. On October 20th, 2008 at 3:15 pm Matt Gillooly said:

    Thanks a ton for the writeup, Adam! Although the site is temporarily frozen for Rails Rumble judging, we’ve all agreed that we want to continue pushing this project forward. So rest assured that work is continuing… I hear Steve already has a bunch of updates he’s anxious to push, as soon as we set up a non-Rails-Rumble server. We’re planning to reach feature parity with the other Twitter clients out there, and also add some more of the things the other guys are all missing. I know I’m looking forward to it!

  4. On October 20th, 2008 at 3:18 pm Adam Darowski said:

    Thanks, Matt! It’s been my Twitter client pretty much all weekend and all day. Loving it!

  5. On October 20th, 2008 at 8:22 pm Josh Catone said:

    If you guys won, I could hand deliver the Rails Forum-sponsored part of the grand prize (I’m in Providence). ;)

    Cool app. I’m having a lot of fun digging through all the stuff people made this year. Good luck — the competition is stiff!

  6. On October 20th, 2008 at 8:23 pm Josh Catone said:

    (Edit: I suppose I should have said “if the Twalala guys win” …)

  7. On October 20th, 2008 at 8:26 pm Adam Darowski said:

    Hi Josh! Oh, we know you’re in Providence. ;) Just haven’t happened to meet you yet.

    I like to think of myself as a pre-alpha tester for the team, so the first comment kind of holds up. ;)

  8. On October 20th, 2008 at 8:48 pm Matt Gillooly said:

    Josh, that sounds good. Fuel efficiency- one more reason for people to vote for twalala! =)

    BTW, the first meeting of the new RI Ruby Users Group is next Monday (details @ Maybe we’ll see you there?

  9. On October 20th, 2008 at 8:52 pm Josh Catone said:

    @Adam: We should definitely make it a point to rectify that. Jack (Templin) has been on me to show up at one of the Providence Geeks dinners, but I keep wussing out. ;)

    By the way, think you could shoot me an email connecting me to some of the Twalala team members? I’m planning a general blog post about the Rumble for (my day job) and I’d love to get some quotes one what makes people think giving up a weekend to code non-stop for 48 hours is a good idea. :) ( josh [at] railsforum [dot] com or )

  10. On October 20th, 2008 at 9:02 pm Adam Darowski said:

    Awesome, Josh. I’ve emailed the team. Those Geeks meetings rock! Hope to run into you at one!

  11. On July 22nd, 2009 at 9:39 pm What The Hell said:

    I do NOT see the favorite button to star a tweet! Where is it?????