Last Update: Sunday (2009-13-09), text added in blue
The Twittermeme #FollowFriday (or #FF) was started January this year by Micah Baldwin (@micah) with one single Tweet: “I am starting Follow Fridays. Every Friday, suggest a person to follow, and everyone follow him/her. Today its @fancyjeffrey & @w1redone.”
A friend of Micah suggested to add the hashtag (a community driven tag) #FollowFriday to the tweet, some other friends helped to spread the word and a tweetmeme was born: now, all over the world #FollowFriday is a Twitter “trending topic” on Fridays (see Mashable)
The concept of FollowFriday is that every Friday you recommend a few people to your Twitter-followers. For at least 2 reasons:
- it is a way to acknowledge those particular people
- it is a very efficient way for your followers to find other interesting Twitter people
Ideally (at least IMHO) the #FollowFriday tweets (message of 140 characters or less):
- should consist of:
- the hashtag #FollowFriday, #FF or both
- 1-3 names of people you would like to recommend (the tweet should not start with their names, because otherwise only the recommend person himself and your mutual friends will be able to read the tweet, -this doesn’t make much sense)
- a short explanation why you recommend him/her.
- are tweeted on Fridays
- are more or less unique (just one or two tweets, not dozens in a row)
- should only recommend the best people in a particular field
Two examples, one by me and one by @jpardopardo (it was my one and only #FF recommendation in two weeks)
In these examples the hashtag #FollowFriday is followed by one or several names with the reason one should follow the person.
The general format thus would be:
#followfriday #FF @username Reason why you should follow him/her, area of interest, Their website URL, if applicable
If my followers see that I consider @aarontay a great techy librarian having a lot of good tips, they might find it worth while 2 check him by clicking @aarontay or the link to his blog http://is.gd/2ssJ3. If they go to his Twitter homepage and find his tweets awesome, than they might decide to start following him.
If you’re interested in the Cochrane Collaboration, then you might try the tweople that are recommended by @jpardopardo. It takes somewhat more time, however, to check all 6 people, but it may yield some interesting new people to follow.
Thus, in principle #FollowFriday is a great tool to find other interesting people, BUT…
…suppose you’re following someone that tweets all this (x 3-5 times) every Friday?
I don’t follow this person (name not shown), but if I did, these #FollowFridays are really meaningless. I don’t know why I should follow the “suggested” people, nor do I want to try all the links. Furthermore if someone produces 10 or more of these kinds of tweets (those people exist!), my twitter account gets clogged with useless clutter. Its worse than an inbox full with spam.
But some people are even worse. They not only tweet a huge amount of meaningless FollowFridays, they also retweet (RT) the FollowFridays in which they are included to let the world know how popular they are (I can’t think of any other reason than that they want to show off).
And it is counterproductive….
Instead of following the recommended people I will unfollow those kind of FollowFridaying people (at the end).
I’m not a CEO or a marketing woman. I don’t want 10000 people to follow me, and even less so do I want to follow 10.000 people back.
I only desire to follow interesting people with a high signal to noise ratio of tweets in a manageable way.
I always thought that I was exceptional in thinking like this, but last two weeks several of my Twitter friends started to talk about the downside of FollowFridays. And when I Googled, o dear, the whole Twitterverse seemed to have written about it. (glad I Googled after I had almost finished this post)
Oh and here is another one today (13-09)
pfanderson @laikas @wichor Yeah, I really hate it on Follow Friday when folks fill up a whole page nothing but people’s names. 22 minutes ago from web in reply to laikas
SO WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS? (blue added after publication)
- Abandon FollowFriday
- Just recommend anyone (special) whenever you like (DrVes , DrShock),
- @MarilynMann: “What I do find useful is when someone joins twitter and people tweet “please welcome ___ to twitter,” which can be done any day of the week”
- @sciencebase: “RT is the much better way to show fellow twitters that you care. If you’re RT’ing their tweets then you’re demonstrating that what they’re saying bears repeating, so recommending them indirectly…”
- @philbaumann ‘s tip mentioned by @problogger in the same post: Mark tweets from people you want to recommend on FollowFriday by favoriting them and tweet the URL of your favorites page (i.e., see the URL of Philbaumann’s Favorites page).
- Share Groups of Twitter Users in One Click with TweepML (Mashable) – here are some lists from which you can choose: http://tweepml.org/follow/, including a top librarianlist. Of course there are already many lists and directories around, but the good thing is that you can personalize your own top groups and that another person can add anyone from that list by simple clicking.
- Use #MrTweet Instead of #FollowFriday, send your weekly recommendation there, get an overview of the most awesome people according to your friends and get recommended yourselves (see bkmacdaddy). [added 2009-09-02]
- Use FollowFriday sparingly and wisely, i.e. as described above. In fact the founder of FollowFriday proposes similar rules.
- Mention a series of people on Twitter and tell why they’re great people on your blog -there is more room there (sucomments)
- @problogger: (on his blog Twitip.com) “Spread your tweets throughout the day via scheduling services like Tweetlater (currently rebranding themselves as SocialOomph, Futuretweet or Hootsuite” (while taking care of the twitteretiquette, see above).
- Matt Stratton proposes to use the hashtag fussy-follow-friday, to discrimate good tweets from bad ones.
- Maija Haavisto, again on Twitip.com: “ask others for recommendations (such as “female sports bloggers” ..), 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. EXTRA TIP TO KEEP YOUR Followfriday-recommendations
- Perform a Twittersearch with (your @twittername OR your twittername) (#followfriday OR #ff OR followfriday) and take an RSS-feed to that search. You see your recommendations and who has recommended you.
Thus my search looks like (laikas OR @laikas)(#followfriday OR #ff OR followfriday) (and you can also add “friday”)
To add fussy-follow-friday to the follow friday tweet  seems unnecessarily complex to me. Asking others for recommendations  is a good suggestion, but I don’t see me applying that approach each Friday. I would (and already do) use this approach on selected occasions. Why not just use FollowFriday as it was meant to be used: recommend one or two people once a week . I still like the idea. Contrary to marketing people and strategists, I’m already happy and honored when I’m FollowFridayed: for me it doesn’t have to lead to tons of followers (for others this is the main goal). In my case it has lead to some new, great twitterfriends. Quality is more important to me than quantity. I’ve “met” some new interesting people, who I might not have met otherwise.
Option 2, 3 and 4 also seem very sensible to me. I share the mild) critique of @problogger regarding 5: “Not every tweet I Favorite comes from someone I necessarily want to recommend and favorites are not necessarily tweets planned on sharing. But people not using favorites often might find this an excellent option.”
6 seems more of an adjunct, nice tool, but less personal.
What do you think?
(Solutions may be added to the above list)
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