Filtering the Social Media Firehose So You Don’t Go Insane

Recently I was listening to a podcast (Thought Row Podcast), which featured Terri Nakamura talking about harnessing the power of social media. She mentioned filtering Twitter by creating conversations with people, responding to those who reach out to her personally. It’s very similar to the way that I use Twitter. I think we all need to filter our social media accounts. If we listened or read every single message that came across our screens we’d surely go insane. So here are some of the ways that I filter what I read, not just from Twitter, but from Facebook and Instagram, too.

Twitter lists, lists, and lists

On Twitter, lists are my saviour. I’ve noticed lately that people aren’t as excited about them any more. I wonder why?! To me, they’re one of the best things about Twitter! In fact, I’ve written about this feature: Twitter Lists for the Power User. It was written and updated a few times, by the way. Of course, responding to those who mention you is another great way to filter. There are people on Twitter with whom I’ve had conversations spanning years and maybe over a decade now. So if you do nothing else, respond to your notifications and you should be in pretty good shape.

Facebook groups

On Facebook, groups are a terrific way to filter. I use just a few of them and ignore the rest. Those that my friends run, or groups where I can discuss my interests are my favorites. History, social media, and knitting are some of my interests. There are also some nifty ways to filter out what you see in your news feed. Why not check out this post from Facebook, err Meta, itself? You can also filter by type of post. For instance, I like to watch videos on Facebook, so I’ll often only watch those. Or you could filter on status updates.

Filter Instagram using hashtags or close friends

On Instagram, I usually look at what my closest friends are doing first. However, I’ve noticed that this feature doesn’t always work. So I might be filtering social media by hashtag, which also works. In my area, the hashtag I like is #SantaCruzMountains. When I’m posting for clients in San Francisco, I use #SFBay, #SF, and #SanFrancisco. There are many others, since you can have up to 30 hashtags. I’ve written about hashtags before: How to Discover a Wealth of Friends with Social Media Hashtags.

Image by <a href="">Pexels</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>

Filtering the Social Media Firehose So You Don’t Go Insane. Image by Pexels from Pixabay

How do you filter?

If you have some other way of filtering your social media, I’d love to hear it. Probably everyone would love to hear it. It’s so exhausting to always be hit by so much stuff, isn’t it? Short of leaving the online world, there has to be a better way to make sense of it.


  1. Hi, Carol. Boy, oh, boy, if only every platform offered lists like Twitter’s. They’re terrific! The past couple of years since I went back to school to earn an AA in digital marketing, then wrote a book, I’ve spent less and less time on social media.
    On Instagram, I’ve been using a dashboard by Buffer. It has an engagement tab and shows you each post as well as all of the comments you’ve received on each one. The beauty of this is, it highlights responses you haven’t replied to yet. It has cut my response time in half (or less) because it’s faster for me to respond using a keyboard and I don’t have to scroll through my posts to see if someone said something important.

    • Hi Terri,

      Yes, I love Twitter lists, too. And that’s why I can’t figure out why people suddenly seem to dislike them, to the point of adding in their profiles “NO LISTS!”. It’s weird.
      Your Buffer dashboard sounds wonderful. Maybe I’ll take a look at Buffer. And if it saves time, that’s worth a lot! Using a keyboard is a lot faster than typing on my phone, even using the talk-to-text feature.

      Thank you for all the ideas and inspiration, Terri!


  2. How strange it seems that people do not want to be listed. My perception has always been that lists were endorsements by other people who were interested in your content or interested in you. I keep a list of people in Seattle, among other categories. Before I began curating my own content, I realized heavily on lists to find retweetable posts. I don’t think people really understand the value of lists! Maybe another idea for a post?

    • Hi Terri,

      It’s very strange that people don’t want to be listed, since it means that you and your content is valuable! I don’t get it. I’ve already written (and rewritten) a post about lists, but maybe I’ll retweet it a couple of times so it gets more visibility.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. I love using Twitter lists. You and Terri are in one of those. It takes a lot of work to monitor them and move people around when necessary. For instance, y’all used to be in a specific group I created a long time ago that was basically dominated by 3 people in particular. Since I still wanted to see their stuff, I created a group just for them & left y’all in my original group… where I finally see everything you and others are posting.

    I moderate two Facebook groups, but neither gets much attention. The problem there is that both groups basically wait for me to post something (diabetes and local bloggers) before saying anything… and most of them never visit. However, what I’ve done is configure my favorites list, then make use of both the top stories feed and the most recent feed. These allow me to see posts by people I want to see, and two lists where I see things that both Facebook wants me to see and what time wants me to see.

    • Hi Mitch, Aren’t Twitter lists the best thing ever? Yes, it takes time to maintain them properly, but it’s so worth it. As far as you and Terri go, now I see your tweets all the time. And I don’t generally filter out people who I know already, at least not on Twitter. I do comment on local Facebook groups. Sounds like you’ve got your Facebook feeds figured out so you see what you want. Most people don’t do that, I don’t think.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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