Social media’s secret inboxes: How to find your hidden messages on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn

You spend hours each week scanning through your Facebook news feed, scrolling past pics on Instagram, and checking to see who was clicking on your LinkedIn profile. You have push notifications on your phone, email notifications hitting your inbox, and reminders popping up in your browser so you don’t miss a conversation.

I hate to break it to you, but you are missing some messages. Some social networks have installed secret inboxes that you don’t know about.

Who has them and how do you get to them? I’ll show you.


Facebook has two secret inboxes buried behind your main Facebook Messenger inbox. Here’s how to find them:

Start by going to the Facebook News Feed and clicking the Messages feature on the top left menu to access Facebook Messenger.


You’ll see your current inbox from Facebook Messenger, but have you ever clicked the Message Requests option on the top? This is the first secret inbox and these messages are from people Facebook thinks you might know. I’ve had some legitimate message requests sent here from people I’ve actually met, and I’m glad I checked them!


Click the More dropdown menu on the right, and you’ll see even more inboxes for unread, filtered, and archived messages. The filtered messages – Facebook’s second secret inbox – are from people you’re not Facebook friends with and they’re placed in a secret inbox because Facebook thinks that the sender may be trying to send you spam. Judging by the images I’ve seen here, Facebook is right.



You may know about Instagram’s direct messaging inbox that allows you to send messages and photos to other Instagram users you’re connected to. Within the last few months, Instagram snuck in a little update to this inbox called Message Requests that allows people you aren’t connected to on Instagram to send you messages as well.

To find your Message Requests, start by opening up Instagram and going to the News Feed. Click on the inbox on the top right of the screen.

Instagram Messages 1.png

You’ll see any previous messages listed here in your regular inbox, but if you see a blue strip at the top that has a number and the words Message Requests, then you’ve got messages in this secret inbox. If the blue strip doesn’t appear, then you don’t have any messages waiting for you here.


Click on the Message Requests notification to get to the messages. Click on them to read them. You can click the Allow button to let the sender know you’ve seen the message and write a response. When you allow a message, future messages from that sender will appear in your direct inbox. If you click the Decline button, you can ignore the message.



LinkedIn has two kinds of secret inboxes: one is in your regular inbox and the other can be found in your connection requests. They contain communications from blocked users that I’m assuming – I couldn’t find details on this – that LinkedIn believes are people you may not know and are trying to spam your profile.

To find your secret message inbox on LinkedIn, start by clicking the messages feature on the top menu bar.


Then, click the All Messages dropdown menu near the top of the page and select the blocked messages.


At some point, LinkedIn started filtering your connection requests and they’ve hidden them in a secret inbox. It’s definitely important to check these because I’ve found some legitimate requests there from people I actually know. Don’t leave them hanging!

You can find these hidden requests by going to LinkedIn and clicking on the invitations feature on the top menu.


LinkedIn will show you your pending invitations and a list of people you may know. Click on the dropdown menu on the right of the pending invitations and select Blocked invitations.


The list of LinkedIn users whose invitations are blocked will appear on a new screen.


The secret’s out!

Now that you know about the secret inboxes on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, I hope you check them out and I hope you find something interesting there! It’s not always spam. Don’t ignore these messages. They might be from actual people you know that have been waiting to hear from you.


How to save money at Target by using your smartphone and social media

The holidays are coming up, and naturally shoppers are eager to find ways to save a few bucks while searching for gifts and the necessities for entertaining.

Look no further than Target. You may have to do a little work on your end, but trust me it’s worth it. All you need is your phone, an app, and text messages.

Target’s Cartwheel app

Let’s start with Cartwheel, the little app you won’t be able to live without.

Target Cartwheel app

Cartwheel is Target’s in-store coupon app, and it’s available in the iTunes store and Google Play. Cartwheel allows users to store a limited amount of coupons on the app. There’s a gamification element to the app: as you spend more and complete tasks, you earn more coupon spots.

How it works:

Start by downloading the app, and then setting up your account through your Target login, Facebook profile or Google account. As a new user, you’ll have 10 coupon spots. Coupons can be reused multiple times until they expire.

There are a few ways you can add coupons:

  • Manually through the Offers tab. Once you click on offers, you can search by category and see available offers.
    Target Cartwheel app all offers categories
  • Using the search feature (click on the magnifying glass) and type in your search terms.
    Target Cartwheel app search.PNG
  • Using the Scan Product tool. This is best part of Cartwheel. Scan barcodes on items in the store, and Cartwheel will tell you if there is an offer for the item, or a suggested offer if your particular item doesn’t have a discount.
    Target Cartwheel app_scan barcode.PNG
  • Using collections. Collections are offers arranged by certain themes, like seasons, holidays, best sellers, or from Target’s weekly ad.
    Target Cartwheel app collections.PNG
  • Following social activity. Target has a news feed of recent activity from the Facebook friends you connect with, and you can add offers to your account from the feed.
    Target Cartwheel app Facebook friend feed.PNG

If you’re a regular Target shopper like I am, 10 coupons is simply not enough to supplement your twice a week (or more!) Target runs. How do you get additional coupons? That’s where gamification kicks in. Cartwheel gives users badges for accomplishing different tasks like connecting with a Facebook friend  through the app, adding an offer from one of the collections, redeeming an offer multiple times, and saving set amounts of money with the app.
Target Cartwheel app badges.PNG

Cartwheel tips:

  • The app can sometimes be buggy because of weak wifi signals in the store. Make sure you’re using Target’s in-store wifi. Sometimes shutting off the app, and restarting your phone will help reset it. If this happens a lot, you may want to add your offers manually before stepping in the store.
  • Offers last for different amounts of time, so check your Cartwheel app for expired offers and new offers every time you go to Target. Cartwheel has a special promotion for featured toys during the holiday season. There’s a different featured toy each day from now through Christmas Eve. Check the Hot Gifts for Cool Kids collection to add offers to your coupons.
  • Sometimes the offers are not listed in the right category. I recently found an offer for Keurig Green Mountain coffee in breakfast and not beverages, so you might want to look in multiple categories, use the search feature or scan the item’s bar code just to be sure.
  • Don’t want to pick up an item to scan it? You can scan the barcode for items on Target’s shelves. It’s the same code that’s on the item itself.
  • Tell your cashier you’re using Cartwheel. Target cashiers have to apply Cartwheel and other offers in a certain order, so let them know in advance. They need to scan your Cartwheel bar code before you pay, so don’t swipe your card before all of your discounts are applied to your purchase.


Target text coupons

The text coupons are a nice compliment to the Cartwheel app. Start by texting COUPON to Target (827438). You’ll receive monthly discounts on pre-selected products, expiration date reminders, and additional special discounts on certain products or departments. You can use individual text coupon offers only once at checkout.
Target text coupons.PNG

Click on the link in the text message, and the offers will open up in a page in your smartphone’s Internet browser. There’s a barcode at the top that the cashier can scan at checkout.

Occasionally, Target will post signs in the store for special offers and a keyword that you can text to the same phone number to get the offer. These offers are often for a limited time, so keep your eyes open for the signs!

Target text coupon sign.JPG

Target has more ways to save (without your smartphone)

Target’s in-store credit card always takes 5% off your total, but did you know you could get a Target debit card? The debit card connects with your bank account, and functions the same way, but you get 5% off for all of your purchases.

And, if you get your prescriptions filled in Target’s pharmacy, join their pharmacy rewards program. You’ll get a 5% coupon for your entire purchase for every 5 prescriptions you fill there. The pharmacy rewards coupon can be used multiple times in one day. And I mention this because I have used it multiple times in one day. Don’t judge me.

The best part of all of these tools is that they can be used together. I recently got an iPad for 20% off by combining a 10% Cartwheel discount with the 5% debit card discount and the 5% pharmacy rewards coupon.

Social media and Cartwheel

If you want to be in the know about what new deals are being added to Cartwheel, there are a few search tricks you can use to get the latest updates via social media. Try searching #Cartwheel on Facebook, and you’ll see all public posts with that hashtag. There are tons of websites and blogs that post daily about what they’re finding on Cartwheel.

Or you can set up a Twitter search for #Cartwheel. You can make it a saved search for your Twitter profile by clicking the More Options tab, and then click Save this search on the dropdown menu.
Twitter Cartwheel Hashtag.png

Happy shopping!

If you aren’t a Target believer, maybe these smartphone tools and other offers have convinced you to join the Cult of Target. Got other ways to save money there? I would love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments.