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Enough! Here are a few ways to mute the SXSW madness

Grumpy Cat SXSW
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In case you didn’t notice, this year’s SXSW is off to a roaring start. It’s an awesome festival that includes interactive and gaming presentations, film screenings, and musical performances – so you can count on being bombarded with reports over the coming days and weeks detailing everything you’re missing out on (yes, including Grumpy Cat).  Whether you decided to stay at home and skip it or you came to Austin for the full experience, you cannot avoid the onslaught of massive SXSW online content.  But don’t worry – there are a number of ways to temporarily minimize (if not completely block) SXSW’s presence on your social media radar. 

Transform your browser into a SXSW-blocking machine


A more common problem experienced by many Facebook users on a daily basis is the constant reposting of political propaganda and die-hard opinions you don’t necessarily agree with, and while it currently doesn’t seem possible to actually filter posts from within the social networking site, there are quite a few browser extensions and add-ons you can activate that can help you avoid such content.  There’s no reason why you can’t use the same tools to help you avoid too much news about SXSW.

social-fixerSocial Fixer, like the name implies, aims to improve your Facebook functionality and the content you’re exposed to.  It offers you a bunch of features that may overwhelm you upon first installation and use, but once you get the hang of it, it is quite effective.  Specifically, its advance feed filter option takes away the hassle of having to unfollow or hide contacts on your Facebook news feed (although that is a suitable back-up solution) by allowing the user to declare their own keywords they want to block. 

fb-purityAnother extension with an obvious name is FB Purity, a tool that filters spam and specific keywords on Facebook.  If an extension’s effectiveness and popularity is gauged by how much Facebook wants to shut them down, then FB Purity probably takes the cake because they are currently going through some issues with the platform.  It has gotten rave reviews in the past, but due to Facebook’s negative response toward this add-on, users should probably take extra precaution in using this to solve SXSW-related problems.  If you’re feeling gutsy, then try at your own risk. 

nonpartisanmeFacebook Filter is quite simple.  It filters unwanted posts from your Facebook News Feed.  That’s it.  So if you want a quick and easy way to filter out SXSW posts, check this extension out., aside from being a browser extension offering built-in presets that block political posts, can also be used to stop you from accidentally seeing SXSW spoilers or control your feed from flooding.  It currently works on both Facebook and Twitter, but the extension’s site promises to cover more websites in the future. 


block-twitterThanks to the concept of hashtags, it’s very easy to block tweets with certain topics on your Web browser, including SXSW.  For Chrome users, the Proxlet Tweet Filter is a great way to not only mute certain users, it also allows you to effectively weed through your Twitter feed and block annoying updates, from Foursquare check-ins to every SXSW photo your friends take.  Another nifty tool is DeClutter, a javascript bookmarklet that gives you the option to create a blacklist of keywords you want to shush up.  It has been tested on Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, but it might work on other browsers as well.  Don’t know what a bookmarklet it?  Don’t worry—the creator has a pretty simple explanation.


Just in case you’re also worried about an overflow of SXSW posts on Tumblr, we found something that could ease your pain: Tumblr Savior will keep your feed at bay and “valiantly protect your delicate sensibilities” by putting your keywords in a blacklist and blocking them. 

Google Reader/RSS Feeds

If you collect all your favorite Internet sources in one place and would like to temporarily turn a blind eye on the SXSW, sadly you can’t do it within Google Reader without unsubscribing yourself from your toggled sites.  However, there is a way around it if you set up a Greasemonkey script like this one that’s designed to hide stuff you don’t want to know about (like SXSW).  Bear in mind that Greasemonkey is an extension for Firefox, so this script will run okay on that browser.  However, some scripts have been known to work on Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer, too so don’t be afraid to test it.  Another option is Feed Rinse, which you can try for free.

General websites

Some of the blogs that you may be following actually have filtering functions.  You can take your time and tinker around with the settings and you will discover that sometimes, all it takes is an extra /not:SXSW or /exclude/SXSW in the address bar of your browser.  Otherwise, there’s always TinyFilter on Chrome and ProCon Latte on Firefox that offer blacklist blocking, so when you go to a site that has SXSW-related keywords, you are spared.  These two are originally designed and usually installed to keep kids from browsing pornographic and other adult content, but you can use it to mute SXSW in the meantime.

There’s an app for that!

Twitter iPhoneMost people use the official Facebook smartphone app to keep up to date with their News Feed, and as far as we know, an internal way to filter out specific content is not possible at the moment.  You could download different Web browsers on your phone and try accessing Facebook assisted by the extensions we mentioned above, but for now, let’s focus on Twitter apps that can help you mute #SXSW.

Normally, Tweetdeck would be an awesome go-to solution for this sort of filtering problem, but in case you haven’t heard, it’s on its way to digital extinction.  We did mention a great alternative, though:  Tweetcaster (Android, iOS, Web) has a “zip-it” option that allows you to not see users and keywords on your feed without having to unfollow them.  You can also unzip at any time if you want to take a quick peak at everything SXSW on Twitter.  UberSocial (Android, iOS, Blackberry) is also an effective Twitter client that has mute capability, so if you have friends attending SXSW 2013, you can temporarily hide them for a selected period of time.

Have an Android device?  Twicca has a long list of features that includes tweet filtering.  Are you more of an iLover?  For under $3, you can either get Tweetlogix and Tweetbot in iTunes store for your blocking-without-unfollowing needs.

When all else fails, unplug.

Read a book.  Bake a cake.  Listen to a few old records.  Go outside and take a walk.  Resist the temptation to go online.  Yeah, good luck with the last one.

There you have it!  Keep in mind that all of the tips we’ve outlined above are reversible, so you will have no difficulty in catching up on the latest SXSW news once you decide you want to be in-the-know again. 

Jam Kotenko
Former Digital Trends Contributor
When she's not busy watching movies and TV shows or traveling to new places, Jam is probably on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or…
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