Today is Friday. I love Fridays. Even Friday the 13th’s. In fact they are even cooler than usual Fridays because if something goes wrong you can blame it on the “Friday the 13th factor”.
Anyway – this Friday I thought I’d update this blog on Twitter’s #FollowFriday or #FF trend. And by the way… if you’re not familiar with the evolution of #FF on Twitter then check out this article from Mashable.
I originally wrote this post back in December 2009. That particular Friday a few things had gotten Follow Friday to the front of my mind:
- The fact that I completely lost track of the days this week and accidentally started my #FF on Thursday at 2am before deleting and holding back!
- More than one comment thanking me for an #FF – from people who don’t #FF themselves out of concern that others find it annoying.
- I took part in a webinar (hosted by @virtualmarketer) where #FF and #FollowFriday was used as an example of a popular hashtag.
- A tweep I (had just started following sent more #FF’s (and subsequent retweets of thankyous and @ replies) than I thought possible. By 9 am my 1600 x 1200 monitor needed over 27 screens of scrolling on their Twitter page to get through the #FollowFriday love up – a veritable orgy of #FFing – it continued to totally dominate my home stream until I unfollowed. And it goes on each and every Friday.
- This report from Tim Difford of theNEXTWEB (UK) came to my attention
- As did the campaign to keep Follow Friday relevant (#keepFFreal)
- Finally… an iPhone App was released this week with the slogan “It’s a tradition. Everyone does it.” (I downloaded it, used it once, deleted it. In my opinion – save yourself a dollar and avoid it).
(UPDATE – see blog comments below for response from the developer of this App, and also note that several updates have been implemented since which help produce more relevant #FF tweets – so kudos to @shabzcohelp)
The Birth of #FollowFriday
To quote the first ever #FollowFriday tweet from @micah – “I’m starting Follow Friday’s. Every Friday suggest a person to follow and everyone follow him/her. Today it’s @fancyjeffrey and @w1redone” (Note – both of these links are to updated profile names for these users).
Now perhaps @micah didn’t just start [one of] Twitter’s most popular themes, but also set the tone for how it would develop. Note the use of a singular “suggest a person” followed by detailing two people
It seems to me that a growing number of people consider Follow Friday’s to now be something equivalent to spam. For example, the well respected Canadian Entrepreneur, Motivator and all round good Tweep @SharonHayes, backed out of Follow Friday a good while ago and details the alternatives she pursues on her blog.
For the foreseeable future at least, I’m going to keep using #followfriday. But I’m going to set myself some rules (to which there will be some exceptions) regarding how I will #ff.
Ten Commandments of #FF’ing.
1. Whatever you do DON’T automate #FF or recommend everyone you follow. Imagine you’re at a social gathering with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people in attendance. You may well spend some of your time introducing some people or groups to each other. But if you run around like a headless chicken making sure EVERYONE has said hi to EVERYONE else people will think you’re crazy. Then imagine everyone at the party is doing the same thing!* Consider a maximum of 5 #ff tweets for say up to 30 people. Perhaps number them (pt 1-5 etc).
2. Rationalise #FollowFriday’s. Dont just type #ff or #followfriday followed by a load of @joebloggs, @widgetguy, @hotchick, @smartgal etc. Explain briefly why people should consider following that person.
3. Don’t #ff the same people all the time (perhaps no more than once a month) – unless there is a very clear reason to do so. There’s a lot of great people on Twitter. Spread the love around.
4. Don’t #ff people JUST because they #ff’d you. And don’t expect people to #ff you JUST because you #ff’d them. This just leads to irrelevance in #FollowFriday tweets (and JUST is the operative word there).
5. Don’t retweet #ffs in which you’re mentioned JUST because you’re mentioned. Sure, if you want to recommend the other people on the tweet then go for it.
6. Be careful how you reply to thank people for #ffs – consider the syntax of tweets and who will see different types of Tweet (@ reply’s; mentions; DMs; hashtagged tweets) [see this rtstrategy.ca blog post]
7. Make a conscious effort to prepare an #ff. Actually look at each person’s recent stream before #ff’ing them. (Recent example – I found a North American division of a UK company that I was very fond of on Twitter. In my happy state I very quickly FF’d them. In the few days after I realized the way they were using Twitter was not good).
8. Theme you #followfridays. Perhaps one week do new local Twitter users, the next may be fans of your favorite sports team, the next may be particular industry leaders etc.
9. Consider using @MrTweet: Mr Tweet is similar like the technique above where you can recommend someone personally. When you recommend someone using Mr Tweet it will be stored in their website.*
10. Consider using a Twitter List for #followfriday : In some circumstances it may be hard for you to recommend everyone you want to (perhaps you’ve just been to a conference and met 100 people you want to recommend. You can add them to a Twitter list, name it Follow Friday and ask your followers to follow the list or follow the people on the list.*
By observing these rules I hope to keep my #ff’s relevant to my Twitter followers. Remember: KEEP FOLLOW FRIDAY REAL!