#followfriday Revolution

By Maija Haavisto, author of an upcoming Twitter book due out later this year (the first Twitter book in Finnish). Follow her@DiamonDie.

ffsucks

#followfriday is a great idea, at least on paper. You recommend your favorite tweeps for others to follow. It’s all about sharing, right?

In practice, it doesn’t really work like that. Most people just mindlessly flood long lists of Twitter usernames every Friday, forgetting that Twitter is a social media, not a broadcast media.

Twitter users have started skipping the recommendations just like they skip blatant marketing tweets. One Friday I received seven #followfriday mentions – and not a single new follower.

lostSo how could we make #followfriday more social and thus more useful?

I propose using a personalized approach to #followfriday. You ask others for recommendations (such as “female sports bloggers” or “witty dads from Arizona”), either as a normal tweet or by posing a question to someone. They reply with names of Twitter users – preceding the initial @ with a period or something else, if they want others to see their recommendations. All tweets should be tagged with #ff or #followfriday, of course.

This would decrease the annoying flooding and increase the odds of the recommendations actually getting read – and make it much more sensible to track #followfriday recommendations from strangers.

Obviously you could also send your followers a recommendation even without any prompt. Have several followers who love reality shows? Introduce them to each other! By doing this you not only help others, but boost the chances of them a) introducing good folks to you b) recommending you to someone else. And of course, you come off as a nice, helpful person, which doesn’t hurt whether you tweet for a company or just for fun.

Feel free to post your own recommendation in the comments – but keep it to a certain niche, whether that’s female sports bloggers, witty Arizonian dads or people posting great silent movies on YouTube.

[image: sxc.hu]

Comments

  • September 12, 2009

    Maija,

    I have to honestly say that I’ve not yet jumped on the Follow Friday trend, but now that my Twitter followers are growing nicely, I will start to be more aware of these types of Twitter events to be able to interact more with new followers.

    Thanks for these Tweet-Tips and much success with the launch of your Twitter book!

  • September 12, 2009

    I actually now unsubscribe anyone that I am following when they engage in mindless #followfriday. In my industry (pets) the started MeowMondays and WoofWednesdays but simply spread user names without any value.

    One of the well known (and popular) experts in the field would send out a minimum of six per day without any redeeming value. I treated it like spam and just eliminated her from the stream.

    When it comes to Twitter or any other social media I think it is great to share your work, treasures that you find, and to help others when you can–but to abuse the #hashtags is a disservice in the long run.

    I posted a few links to hashtag articles and now just remove those who abuse the technique as a standard practice. It would be interesting to see if your idea works but for those who are not savvy when it comes to netiquette issues I wonder if it would work.

  • September 12, 2009

    great idea. i’ve been doing something similar by grouping my recommendations by theme so that the people of the same theme see my recommendations for people i consider similar to them in their @ replies.

    i’m more likely to follow a followfriday recommendation if i know what sort of topic that person tweets about too

  • September 12, 2009

    I like Follow Friday, but I never follow or read any post that’s just a string of names.

    If there’s someone on my list that I like, or has recommended me, they get a:

    #followfriday @username Why you should follow them or what makes them awesome #FF Their website URL, if applicable

    That way, you’re actually providing information, as well as a sincere promotion.

  • September 12, 2009

    I’ve been over the whole follow friday movement for a while. This is a great idea though!

  • September 12, 2009

    In short: Don’t mass #followfriday. Instead, introduce individuals to each other or *ask* who to follow in your field. Good ideas!

  • September 12, 2009

    I like your recommendation as the Follow Friday has been abused so much it’s not worth looking for the tweets.

  • September 12, 2009

    I’m always happy to get a #FollowFriday recommendation, but #FF has lost its meaning through overuse. Some have several tweets in a row with huge lists of Tweeple to follow without any context. Why should I follow @username?? Your recommendation is a good one… definitely a start!

  • September 12, 2009

    Maija,

    I find #followfriday useful. I have never blindly tweeted long lists of followers for others to follow. I usually list a minimum amount of followers each Friday, and list the reason to follow each one. I wish others who observed #followfriday would do the same (listing the reasons I should follow each recommended tweeter).

    On the other hand, I’m not completely against #followfriday the way it is being done now. When there is a #followfriday recommendation, I merely go to the recommended tweeter’s profile page, and quickly read his tweets and bio. If I feel the tweeter is someone that is compatible with me and that I’d like to follow him, then I click on the “follow” button under his avatar. I don’t just automatically follow, I check him out first. It takes only a few seconds if you scan quickly, and it’s simple!

    I have found many fantastic people through #followfriday, and can’t imagine not having this system to use. I love #followfriday and it works for me! I have always checked out those recommended for #followfriday. I thought others were doing the same, and am surprised, Maija, that you were suggested seven times in one week, and were not followed back even once. Am I one of the only ones using #followfriday the way it was meant to be used? One of the few?

    Perhaps the twitter stream is getting flooded and thereby not being taken seriously. I’m a little confused at this, however, as I said I do take a look at many of the #followfriday suggestions and carefully check them out.

    Perhaps your suggestion is a good one. We as tweeters should at least keep in mind to not list too many #followfriday recommendations per tweet (perhaps keep it down to one or two recommended persons to follow per tweet) and then list the reason they should be followed.

    I also think we should make sure we don’t get so strict with the rules of #followfriday that we make it rigid. Let’s just be mindful how we use #followfriday, making it useful for all.

    Thanks for a fantastic and informative post, Maija!

    krissy knox :)

  • September 12, 2009

    I’ve stopped playing with #ff a while back, it really isn’t adding any value and it clogs the whole flow of things. I am all for the ban!

  • September 12, 2009
    Jennifermf
    @Jennifermf

    I think users looking for new friends should ask their friends to recommend someone and that suggestions should be sent by DM unless they seem relevant to a large group of followers. But be descriptive: I can’t stand seeing tons of tweets (often from the same person!) with lists of followers, no description, and the #ff tag.

    If one has a few freinds who should know each other, then introduce each other, like you said! And don’t wait for Friday– do it when it’s pertinent.

    I love it when my friends meet each other and become friends! But I don’t love countless meaningless tweets. Follow Friday is a ridiculous meme and a popularity contest.

  • September 12, 2009

    One of the things I plan to do to make #followfridays more useful is both titling my #ff with the type of followers people will notice and include far fewer people. One or two really quality Twitterers is far more appealing than the cloud that often comes my way. I might actually click a single name or two–but not eight in a row I know nothing about.

  • September 12, 2009
    Paul Rickett
    @paulrickett

    Don’t RT #FF mentions that include yourself. I see quite a few of these where if someone is mentioned in an #FF, they RT it. Subtle but self-serving way to promote oneself while adding zero value to the twitstream. I’m already following you so I don’t care if someone else puts you on their #FF list and if you must RT someone else’s #FF list, at least edit your own name out of it.

    My 2c

  • September 12, 2009

    I have been a big fan of #followfriday. Dough I agree that I think people could be a bit more creative.

    To me there seems to be some click rings that send out a bunch of #followfridays to rank high on some of the third party programs that rank or check #followfriday mentions.

    And to many also RT when they get a #followfriday. This it not the time for RT.

    In a way I agree with Perry Belcher that Twitter is like a party, and when you bring in a new great friend to the party you would introduce him to everyone as the good host you are.

    Try something new when introduce your friends on #followfriday;

    #followfriday Hi, I would like to introduce @newfriend. He/She will share info regarding #blogging

    The info I will pick up from their bio. If they have build up a great bio they will have their niche mentioned there. This gives you the opportunity to

    1. recommend your friend
    2. introduce his/her niche
    3. show your followers that you care about quality relationship building
    4. show your new friend that you are one that really care and want to build a quality relationship

    If you use #followfriday the right way you will be able to attract new quality followers that you can build a great relationship with.

    Cheers.. Are

  • September 12, 2009

    I also like the idea, but like most things on Twitter, its usefulness was short lived. People ignore them in the same way they ignore AdSense on blogs. I think part of the problem is that many people on Twitter still aren’t listening…they ignore their feed and only focus on being heard.

  • September 12, 2009

    The best follow friday idea I’ve seen yet from people is creating a post on their blog with lists of names they suggest people follow and reasons. The comment sections of those posts has usually created discussion for others trying to get on the list, etc etc.. A simple tweet with the post link for those interested and discussion goes elsewhere instead of 10 updates with lists of names.

    #deathtofollowfriday is my hash tag of choice every week.

  • September 13, 2009

    I like a lot of the suggestions that have been left here especially the one about posting or highlighting one person in a tweet with their niche/topic interest as a #hashtag.

    After thinking about this topic I realized that although I do keep an eye on Twitter, today I use Facebook more these days–mainly because I don’t see the same type of abuse and keep my friends and fans in different categories.

  • September 13, 2009

    Agree! That’s why I started The Katnip Awards back in June. It’s a fun blog that tells you who I recommend and why. (Others have praised it as an example of how to do #FF right.)

    So if you’re looking for really delightful, smart, fun & engaging people on Twitter, come check it out. And if you have people you want to nominate, let me know!

  • September 13, 2009

    I like the idea of #followfriday; however, recently tweeps mentioning me on #followfriday are not even people I know. It has become rather spammy.

  • September 13, 2009

    Quite coincidentally (?) I also wrote on this subject last Friday:
    http://laikaspoetnik.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/twitters-followfriday-ff-over-the-top-literally/

    Basically I still like the idea of #followfriday, but only if people follow the twitter etiquette, thus quite like @DanCosgrove suggested:
    #followfriday #ff @username Why you should follow them – (their niche/group) -(Their website URL, if applicable)

    And I simply unfollow those people who repeatedly clog my twitterstream with meaningless #ff clutter

    Luckily I’m not a SEO, marketing woman etc (but I’m in science, medicine, education, librarianship), so I’m in a niche where people don’t #FF-spam intentionally.

    I’ve included your suggestion in my list of solutions. I already used that approach, but only incidentally (when necessary) and to me it doesn’t replace #ff. In fact I wouldn’t like asking people each week to make suggestions. It would only increase the #ff-stream.

  • September 14, 2009
    Keith

    I don’t read #ff lists of disconnected names. To get my attention there should be some explanation of why the follow is worthwhile. Explanations eat up characters therefore limit the lists. Good. When I get around to #ff, my recommendations tell why I follow the name. I have gotten away from recommending celebrity tweeters unless they are consistently entertaining. Better a personal correspondent with an interesting viewpoint.

  • September 14, 2009

    How could you not agree with this post.. I got some great suggestions of people to follow through #followfriday tweets that indicated that the list was of ‘great PR people’.. of course it makes sense to give a reason for following them otherwise why would anyone bother clicking on every name to find out what they do. Meanungful #followfriday tweets only – I’m all for it!

  • September 19, 2009

    I mostly ignore #followfriday trends when they appear in my updates whether they have information attached or are just lists of names. It is more about the person sending out the tweet than anything else. If I am tweeting with them or are really interested in what they same and they throw a list of names, I am tempted to check it out. The fact is tweetdeck makes checking them out quite easy.

    The one thing I don’t see many people doing when it comes to #followfriday is using proper etiquette. I am not talking about the people sending out the #FF tweet either. At least one person mentioned above they unfollow anyone sending out a list of names. That is just pathetic especially if you are doing it without checking out their list and says a lot about the kind of user you are. If you don’t want to see #FF in your stream get a client that can filter. The next thing I think is a breach of proper etiquette is not tanking people for putting you on their list. Not acknowledging those that think you are worth talking about is about the most arrogant thing you can do. Even if you are on thousands of #FF posts there are ways to acknowledge that quickly and simply.

    All of that said I think there are much better ways to find the kind of people you want to tweet with. There are days such #followatheistsunday which draws a very specific kind of crowd. Then there is my favorite method of all twitter search. I use tweetdeck and regularly have several searches going at once to help me find people who are tweeting about what I’m interested in. Whether you are looking for a specific group who picks a day for self promotion, or you are looking for people talking about something specific, I have to reccomnend tweetdeck for finding them.

  • September 27, 2009
    Christine Holbrook
    @rogerandchris

    I enjoy follow Friday , I am on twitter only six months and have found
    many like minded individuals, I do however not send a #FF for every
    person, the lists are personal and have meaning they really are
    the people I would want you to talk to .. that may be the
    secret ingredient to a #FF that works.. mean it.

  • November 2, 2009

    Nice idea, but i don’t think this will grow too much though i’m using it very often.

  • November 13, 2009

    i don’t know how many times i’ve tweeted articles on how to use follow friday effectively. when i do FF, i’ll mention a few names then say “meet some nice vets” etc… dumping your follower list onto twitter is really annoying & ineffective!

  • November 24, 2009

    I guess I have better Tweeps that the author here because I love #FollowFriday. It’s one of the best ways I can easily meet new like-minded people.

    If you don’t like #FollowFriday, don’t participate,….but in any case please get off your self-righteous high-horse where you dictate to everyone else “how” something already in existence “should” be done. Go do something different. Start a new hashtag. But don’t tell all of the #FollowFriday participants that it needs to be done differently. You don’t need to get your panties in a twist because the world doesn’t “do” #FollowFriday to suit your tastes.

    There are some changes I would like to make to the way “I” do #FollowFriday, but I haven’t been able to accomplish it on my own and no one else has developed an app that is effective. (I did find something close to what I want, but it is still WAY too time-consuming.) Still, I’m not going to tell everyone else on Twitter that they “should” do it MY way.

  • December 3, 2009

    Hello every body..What follow friday?I don’t understand.How i can make follower up to 10000/week?Sorry, i newbie..

  • January 6, 2010

    i actually joined twitter on a friday and was puzzled by all the #FF’s that were flying all over the place. I googled what it meant & found a handy article on how to use FF effectively. what i will usually do is FF a few people in a realted group & then say “meet some nice ” whatever they are in their profession. it just makes sense to let my followers know who i’m talikng about & why they should follow them.

  • February 15, 2010

    Yeah, I think that Twitter in general has reached a point where without some serious filtering, its signal-to-noise ratio cripples its usefulness. I’m all about tweaking my incoming stream of data. I’m a guy I don’t handle idol chatter real well. I wanna know…”what’s the point?”

  • March 21, 2010

    I agree with the author. I think its overkill. No one has time to click on 6 mentions for every #ff stream without knowing why. Its just noise, is just spam. Its just a way to convince yourself that you are becoming popular and making a difference.

    Everyone wants to take the easy road in life but sadly following what everyone else is doing will not get you the result that you want. Simply put most of us want what everyone else does not have. I think this is a great idea.

    And Anne-Marie I read over your bio and you put as your number one focus (Bible first). If you are going to advertise this (nothing wrong with that) then you need to know that you are putting yourself in a position to be watched. It makes a much better impression on the rest of us bible believers when you talk to people with a tone of courtesy and respect. The author of this blog is not telling the whole world how they should change twitter. This is *his* blog and you are *subscribed* to his blog and blogs are meant to express our personal ideas.

    In my opinion, you are way out of line on your comment. I do agree with everything else in your bio and I believe you were probably just having one of those days. We all get them but honestly think about the tone of your delivery.

    And yes I am 100% in agreement with your politcal views and I hope everyone in here takes the time to read and watch these videos http://ow.ly/1oXSB

  • March 29, 2010

    I gave up on Follow Friday a while back. I get loads of them each week and they really serve no purpose. *IF* I do do a mention, I like to give a reason as to why people should follow them rather than just listing a load of Twitter IDs.

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