Drinking From the Fire Hose: How to Filter Social Media

Drinking From the Fire Hose: How to Filter Social MediaIf you’ve been using social networking tools for any period of time, you’ve probably experienced an overload of information. Every second…

  • Facebook adds 8 new users.
  • 600 tweets are written.
  • 17 blog posts are published.

By the time you reach the end of this post 90,000 tweets will have been written, 1,200 new users added to Facebook, and 2,550 blogs posted. How can we possibly keep up with even 1% of that?

The answer is that we can’t. As these numbers continue to grow our filters need to tighten. We need to filter out the garbage; information of low quality and relevance. I’ll share a few ways that work for me.


Facebook does a great job of filtering out the noise for you. Their complicated algorithms are surprisingly effective at keeping your news feed relevant. I don’t have too much trouble with spam on Facebook as long as I watch who I connect with.

Connect with people you know – I’ve been on both sides of this debate. I’m all for connecting with people I don’t know via social media. What I’ve realized, however, is that it just opens a door for people to flood you with irrelevant junk.

I have,however, found a great alternative to shutting the world out on Facebook. I created a Facebook Page for my writing and invite you all to connect with me there. It’s a fantastic way to make new friends without crossing any relationship barriers.


I try to follow back everyone who follows me on Twitter, so long as they’re not an enrager. For that reason, I currently follow over 7000 people on Twitter. I like to be able to connect with new people, but there is no possible way I can monitor each one.

Lists – I’ve got several private lists that I monitor in HootSuite:

  • Thought Leaders
  • Friends
  • Nashville Tweeps
  • Bloggers
  • Influencers
  • Leaders
  • Event Attendance Lists (based on events I’ll be attending this year)
  • Business Relationships
  • Potential Business Relationships

These lists allow me to intentionally keep up with the people I need to keep up with. People get added to these lists as our relationship evolves. As I follow new people, I check their profile, twitter stream, and website to see if they make it into one of these categories.

I haven’t looked at my home feed in months.


There are more blogs out there than you can shake a stick at. I’ve got two methods that I use for keeping up with that incredible deluge of information.

Google Reader – It’s simple and easy to use. I subscribe to my favorite blogs in Google Reader and read them when they post something new. My reader can get cluttered and overwhelming quickly. I regularly unsubscribe from feeds just to keep things clean.

Try it out by subscribing to this blog. It’s free.

Word of Mouth – Good ol’ fashioned word of mouth. If someone tells me about a great post, I’ll go and read it. They usually tell me via chat, email, Twitter, or Facebook. Again, those Twitter lists come in handy. They help me decide which links to follow and which to ignore.

What methods do you use to keep up with everything?

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