Do you dread Follow Friday on Twitter?

Do you dread Follow Friday on Twitter? Fess up, you know the feeling I’m talking about here, you log into your feed & what seems like miles of canned #FF mentions of you scroll across your screen.Started by Micah Baldwin in Jan of 2009 Follow Friday on twitter was originally meant to be a way for one user to suggest other worthy tweeps to follow.Sadly,this tradition that began as a way to honor people for unique contributions rapidly became a social obligation.Folks eager to be seen began constructing lists of people to mention (As a Twitter novice I was guilty of this) in hopes of getting return mentions. Even Mashable posted tips & tools to help effectively leverage follow Friday.

Follow Friday Dread

You stare at your ever growing list of #FF mentions, noting  that often these tributes don’t contain any reason as to why people should follow you & often lump your twitter handle in with several others who aren’t even related to your industry or interests. The tweeps mentioning you obviously hope for reciprocal mentions, a twitter honor you used to look forward to has now become an ever increasing, time sucking obligation, you dread follow Fridays on twitter & realize your options are few.

  • Spend an ever increasing part of your day returning meaningful mentions
  • Make up (and maintain) scripted lists of mentions to tweet in return
  • Ignore the mentions & risk alienating your followers

Taking Back Fridays

If you appreciate your followers, IMHO you don’t want them to feel obligated to mention you & don’t want to increase anybody’s workload or fill clog their feeds with canned #FF mentions . I’ve begun implementing the following ideas to not only take back my Friday but to also give back to my followers

  • I use #FF sparingly & always give a reason for the mention.
  • I regularly let tweeps know my stance on #FF  &  let them know I don’t expect rote mentions.
  • I’ve begun a #SocialSat tradition, I visit sites, subscribe, leave comments on posts that interest me.

Is there a better way?

I really enjoy & appreciate the people who follow me on Twitter, I prefer to thank them for enriching my life by visiting their sites, subscribing & participating in conversations via my comments on their posts. I wish to respect the Twitter community as a whole by using #FF wisely & only when I can give a reason why the person I’m mentioning is worthy of your follow.

What about you? Do you dread Follow Friday on Twitter? How do you handle your mentions? In what ways do you honor folks who you feel make great contributions to twitter? Drop me a line here, let me know you thoughts!





About Jean Parks

Jean Parks is a chocolate & cupcake loving, computer & gadget addict from Boston, MA

Comments

  1. TechyDad says:

    I may have done Follow Friday once or twice early on, but quickly stopped as I didn’t like generating lists of users for people to follow. I felt like I’d either feel bad for forgetting some interesting people or insult someone by forgetting to include them.

    I did like a suggestions I read once (forget by whom) to restore Follow Fridays. You would write a blog post about one user saying why you think people should follow them. Then you would tweet linking to your blog post and mentioning the user. For example: “My Follow Friday pick is @theshoppingqueen. Read why here: bit.ly/abc123 #FF”

    The benefit here is that you don’t see floods of semi-random FF names, being chosen as a FF actually becomes an honor again, you get to explain why people should follow the user in over 140 characters and you direct them to your blog. Of course, perhaps Follow Friday is a lost cause and we should move this to another day. Mention Monday? Tweep Tuesday? Why Follow Wednesday?

  2. shoppinqueen says:

    Techydad, as usual you’ve made some solid observations here! I can remember the very 1st time I was mentioned on #FF it was honestly very flattering, that feeling though turned into total dread when I realized there was no way I could keep up with the mentions & not risk omitting people. In addition to #socialsat I’m also trying a site of the week posting as you’ve suggested, it seems a more honest,real & useful way to honor people I value:)

    thank you so much for honoring my site with you comment:)

  3. Alicia says:

    I agree with you! I only mention to follow someone if I have a reason! I list the reason as well! I like to know why someone has been mentioned in #FF, not just a list of names with no reason!

  4. Ellen says:

    I am guilty of a looong #FF but not being a blogger the solution of writing a post and linking is not an option.

    I am cutting mine down considerably, but I do still mention great companies and some bloggers (but even mentioning bloggers there are so many you feel bad if you forget one!) So, rethinking it, maybe bloggers shouldnt be included?

  5. Natalie J. Vandenberghe says:

    The first time I saw #FF I didn’t realize what it meant. For a long time after, I didn’t even know to check my @mentions (so, obviously, I didn’t return the #FF early on). Ironically, I believe you gave me a #FF (undeserved, although appreciated). Being somewhat new to this whole thing, I do feel I should return a #FF. In addition, I always tweet thanks or give a #FF to bloggers & companies I’ve won from (which explains my most recent #FF of @geekbabe). I’m learning as I go…

  6. shoppinqueen says:

    Ellen, Natalie, Everybody handles #FF in their own way which is as it should be, after all it is YOUR Twitter account:) There is nothing wrong with giving anybody a mention if they’ve provided you with something/anything you that you value. I view #FF as a call to action, since I respond to those calls by my followers I just really appreciate knowing exactly why you think this person/company is worth a follow.

    Btw, each of you who have taken your precious time to comment on this post are like gold to me, words cannot express how much I enjoy each of you &appreciate you honoring this blog with your thoughtful comments!

  7. Jill H says:

    When I first started twitter I didn’t know what #FF was. Then someone explained it to me and I thought it was a fun thing to do with friends. Then after awhile it became overwhelming with the more people I got to know and then I would feel guilty if I left someone out. So now I do appreciate the ones I do get but really I would prefer if they didn’t do it because I feel bad if I don’t do it back. I really don’t see much point in it other than just a friendly mention.

    I now only do them for companies that I really like or if those companies are really pushing to try to get new followers and have asked for my help.

  8. shoppinqueen says:

    Jill, The guilt thing, you nailed it! IMHO #FF began as a way to honor tweeps for contributing in some fashion, it quickly morphed though into a social obligation that can be a huge headache for the average person.

    As far as mentioning great companies/brands #FF is nice but I prefer to simply mention the company over the course of my normal tweets, IMHO it’s more natural, real & more likely to create convo that others might want to engage in, a win,win for everybody

  9. A local entrepreneur emailed me once on a Tuesday and said he was going to feature me on #FF that week. He asked for a short blurb that I would like him to use in his tweet. He pre-planned it (Tweetdeck or similar) to run at 8:05 Friday morning, and I was his only #FF that week.

    I felt honored and appreciated the chance to highlight part of my business. It made me look good, of course, but I think it showed the Twitterverse how thoughtful and professional he was, also.

  10. shoppinqueen says:

    Anita, What a marvelous compliment to you & truly an example of a savvy person using #FF to communicate to others that you are indeed a person worth following!

    Thank you for stopping in & sharing your thoughts!

  11. mklprc says:

    I follow @Shoq’s suggestion: change #FF to mean Friends to Follow. Don’t do it on Fridays, only one name per tweet, along with why this person is worth following.

  12. shoppinqueen says:

    mklprc, that is a totally excellent suggestion, it truly honors the person you’re mentioning & gives something of value to your followers. Thank you for visiting & commenting :)

  13. Terri K (@tkharmonic) says:

    I limit myself to one #FF tweet for people I am really glad I follow and hope others choose to follow them & one #FF tweet for companies I want to support with their charitable work or are making an extra effort to be green or are just really pleasant and good at interacting with regular people.

  14. TheGlassPhoenix says:

    I have been a Twitter user for almost two years now. I do one, and only one, user every Friday. I start “My #followfriday love goes to @…” and then I give a reason and then end it with “#ff” At the end of the end of the night, or if I can’t get to it, the next morning, I thank everyone for their #followfriday love. This way I can showcase a tweeter that has impressed me that week, unclog feeds, and not spend massive amounts of time recognising my several hundred I follow, because after a while, nobody reads them.

  15. What gets me most is the people who I have NEVER spoken to who FF me every week like clockwork.

  16. shoppinqueen says:

    Terri, I’ve known you for awhile & really admire how you handle your Tweets, you have a great balance & when you do recommend somebody to follow I always check them out!

  17. I no longer take part in Follow Friday although I appreciate when someone goes out of their way to include me. What I do now is one tweet thanking everyone for their #FF’s. I’d much rather connect on Twitter, have conversations and retweet what I believe to be important.

  18. I am very encouraged that you have taken a turn on #FF to make it more relevant and relational. Thank you so much. Great tips.

  19. Paula Lee Bright says:

    I think most newcomers feel it’s the right thing to do.

    So, for them, it is! Free country. Free world, or some of it anyway.

    Once we’ve been there a while, and see tweets we really want to read, but they vanish before our eyes, we start to change our tune. I don’t do it at all anymore. I tried honoring the one kind and gracious follower, as many of you mentioned above, but that was followed by a load of tweets from unhappy people who’d also retweeted me. Ouch!

    So now I don’t. I like to think that my followers and I have a mutual respect. I tweet only things I care about, and I expect them to RT only things they care about.

    Today, I enter a new world. I just opened my 2nd Twitter account, and it’s the way I’m listed here. The site’s not even launched yet! It’s a whole different topic from the one I have a bit of a reputation in.

    So, off I’ll go with no gravatar here, and no followers there.

    I’ll see how it goes! Wish me luck.

    Paula
    Who is also @ChildWillRead !
    But now is also @Almost60Really. :D

  20. Jerry Lafferty says:

    I too have 2 twitter accounts now, I first started on twitter for sweeps and give aways, but as stated above the tweet that you wanted to read was suddenly 3 pages past and no way to catch up. I now have another that is strictly a social account, #FF is overrated! Some are worthy of mention and some you feel obligated because they mentioned you. I hardly have time for twitter any more.
    Great post and great comments, Thanks.

  21. Robyn Wright of Robyn's Online World says:

    I started doing a video Follow Five each week – I need to get back into doing that http://www.robynsonlineworld.com/search/label/follow%20five

  22. Anna says:

    I like all these ideas, esp. replacing the idea of “friday” with “friend” and #socialsat

  23. I can’t remember where, but I saw someone do a #FF blog style – it was quite lovely, with 5 people and really specific and lovely mentions with thoughtful commentary. Gosh… I wish I remember who it was!

  24. Great article. I would like to add one point. Not many people actually check out all the names people throw out on Follow Friday making it an exercise in futility. It’s like re-gifting fruitcake.

  25. Jean Parks says:

    shadowbat
    “It’s like re-gifting fruitcake”

    I just laughed so hard I spewed coffee all over my laptop! lol!

  26. Brenda says:

    How many horns can a dilemma have? Here it is Friday again, and the #FF are rolling in. Quite a few are from people I’ve never seen before, which is just annoying. I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with NOT doing this anymore, without hurting anyone’s feelings, and I like the idea of just doing one or two. Okay, maybe more than one or two. Aaaargh.

  27. Emily says:

    What a wonderful post. Seriously someone had to say it – I do like some #FF – when the person is sharing tweeps they really enjoy – but some feel so obligated… and weird.

    From now on – If I participate I will sure to give a reason why. :) I like Tech Dads suggestion too!

  28. I use to be a huge advocate of #FollowFriday and I still am. But I do agree that some people lost the purpose in doing it. I usually do a follow friday when someone did something really awesome, I meet a great person. when someone really stands out that way I keep some integrity to it.

    I changed my twitter user name a few weeks ago I have people who apparently have a bot sending #FF because they are using my old twitter name still.

    On the other side if you want an easy tool to reply to your FollowFriday’s feel free to go into Followfriday.com they make a list of the people that mentioned you and allow you to send a massive reply thanking them to those who made a massive follow friday mention.

    Good post!

  29. I only do Follow Friday once in a while, and when I do, it’s to acknowledge people who have done something outstanding that week. I used to feel honored to receive a #FF mention, until I started seeing my name come up in the same lists all the time – and not necessarily on Friday (can you say over-automation?)

  30. abitnerdy says:

    I definitely have mix feelings on this and have been guilty of all of the above, but a thoughtless mention is just that thoughtless. Especially now with all these auto tweets programs that have sprung up Follow Friday have become sort of bleh.. and as Twitter grows you follow more people its just hard to to maintain, but i dont want to cut Follow Friday completely out of my routine because there are people and companies out there that I’d love to share with my followers.

    I’ve made a compromise, I pick a few brands and companies that deserve a follow friday and include a reason why or a little about the brand. :) As for friends I try not to just say “Hey Happy #FF” because that doesnt make much sense to me, i tell them I enjoy them and think they’re wonderful because sometimes in my crazy hubbub Twitter life, I don’t get to catch up with them. Also, I don’t use programs, auto-tweets or pre thought out tweets. Each tweet is a labor of love, I literally type out the username and am tweeting on the fly and just hope the recipient appreciates the effort, typo and all.

    goodness this comment got long. lol* Hope you have a fabulous friday. and I love your idea of socialsat! xo

  31. gina says:

    i don’t “do” ff tweets anymore – my solo spotlights with reasons got lost in the shuffle. I do hit RT on a FF that has my @ in it , but not every time. The same few tweeters add me in a list every week. ?

  32. ellen says:

    Thursday night is here again…………. and #ff has begun. I have read this post a dozen times always on Thursdays and wonder why I do #FF mentions.
    I guess I still do them because I enter contests- I always email to thank bloggers and tweet at any companies but still feel a mention is needed.

    It is a quandry.

    Happy #FF (again)

  33. Jean Parks says:

    Ellen, you’ve highlighted my point beautifully, you do #FF mentions for a reason, you’ve received something you value from the companies in question and wish to thank them by pointing them out to your friends. That IMHO is perfect use of #FF

  34. Alex Marie says:

    I have participated in #FF again and again, and unfortunately have made the mistakes of sending out lists of people but the ones that always make an impact on me are the ones where the person mentions why you should follow ( as so many of your other readers have mentioned) There are some great tips here though that are going to have me changing my #FF tune.

  35. Jean Parks says:

    Alex, the beauty of social media is that it constantly shape shifts and changes to meet the needs of people . I’ve rethought my stance, changed my practices many times since I started this site, so adjusting how you deal with #FF is totally right and sensible if your current practices aren’t working for you anymore.

    Thank you so much for stopping in tonight:)

  36. jennifer says:

    I have to admit that I do dread it!!! I fell off the Twitter wagon for a few months and now I’ve been tweeting regularly again, and I’ve been seeing this more and more. I still don’t quite understand how it works. Do I have to retweet it every time they mention me, or do I take 10 minutes scribbling down everyone’s name and create another tweet? I do this all from my phone since my computer took a **** on me. I would really like to hear more a bout how this works, I woke up this morning to about 15 mentions with #ff and I don’t want to be rude and simply ignore! WTD??

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Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kimberly , Darlena Cunha, Socialrati, Sara P, Jean Parks and others. Jean Parks said: Do you dread Follow Friday on Twitter? http://goo.gl/fb/2b2tG […]

  2. […] The link to the post below came through on my twitter stream eariler, and I share the same feelings about Follow Fridays #FF as she: If you appreciate your followers, IMHO you don’t want them to feel obligated to mention you & don’t want to increase anybody’s workload or fill clog their feeds with canned #FF mentions . via Do you dread Follow Friday on Twitter? | Shoppin’ Queen. […]

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