Twitter #FollowFriday - Give Us a Reason

Fri, Apr 10, 2020


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For the past several months Friday has been a popular day for recommending people to add as new followers on Twitter. The idea was the brainchild of Micah Baldwin, and you can read the origins of Follow Friday on Mashable.

Unforunately, like many Twitter memes, what started as a good idea has devolved into a meaningless popularity contest or numbers game. Far too many people just post a long string of names and add the designated hashtag, #followfriday.

If you’re like me, that tactic is completely ineffective. I skip right over a list of names without reading them. In fact, a couple of people have taken it to such extremes-a dozen or so list-only #followfriday tweets in a row-they merited an unfollow. Hey, it’s not about listing all of your followers for fear you’ll leave someone out; I could copy your whole list if I wanted to.

Last week I posed this question:

A number of people agreed with my dislike of follow lists and retweeted my question. Only one person disagreed with me:

But no matter how much I trust you, I’m not going to follow a list of people you recommend unless I know why you recommend them. Here are a few suggestions for making the most out of Follow Friday.

1. Recommend only one or two people per tweet, and say why you follow them. In effect, you are marketing your friends to me. Why would I want to follow them? It’s not just because you like them. Tell me the value they provide that you think would also be meaningful to me.

2. Recommend several people at once, grouped by category, i.e. people who work for or write about non-profits or food; people who are hockey fans; people who share a hobby like knitting; or people who live in a certain city.

3. Even if you follow suggestions 1 and 2, don’t go overboard and think you have to recommend all your friends this week. There’s always next Friday.

Below are my recent Follow Friday recommendations:

Very talented on keyboards/vocals: @DietrichSchmidt w/ @TheArsSupernova. Has MBA, works for Deloitte; but music his passion. #followfriday

Gifted artists who also write: @susanreynolds and @mousewords. Another artist whose work I admire is Stephen Harlow, @p0ps. #followfriday

For inspiration and powerful writing in simple words, @jnswanson. Also a man of faith and integrity. #followfriday

Would be professional singers if they could make a living at it: @kamihuyse and @lauriereece. Both have gorgeous voices. #followfriday

I have enjoyed tag-teaming presentations w/ both @SheilaS and @epodcaster. Fun when you work well w/ people. 2 smart women for #followfriday

#followfriday @MuthaMae for giggles, drama, adventure w/ toddlers in tow. Yes, a midwestern housewife can be a video star! Bonus: pink boa

#followfriday @Dayngr is friendly, reaches out to newbies. She also tweets as @MailOurMilitary, a great nonprofit. Check them out.

#followfriday For one-liners that actually make you LOL @badbanana


This post was written by:

Connie Reece - who has written 152 posts on Every Dot Connects.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. BarbaraKB Says:

    Thanks, Connie.

    Another thing I would like to point out is stopped tracking #followfriday a few weeks ago.

    I said it a year ago and I’ll say it again: #hashtags are spam for Twitter Search and the sooner #hashtags are no longer tracked by Twitter Search, the better the trending there will be and the less folks will use #hashtags to spam.

    Blessed Good Friday!

  2. Krist Says:

    Better yet, there’s an ap that lists all your friends for you with the hashtag and takes ALL thought whatsoever out of it.

    “The results will display:
    #FollowFriday @friend1 @friend2 @friend3 @friend4…”

    As much as I hate this ap, I like the guy who wrote it and suggested he write a “#followfriday @friend because…” fill in the blank one instead.

  3. Lilyhill Says:

    Honored to be in such esteemed company ;-)

    Notice I didn’t say I followed anyone just because they’re on a list. To me, your list is only a recommendation. #1 would be valid if your list was being sent only to ME - but it isn’t, so the reasons that you list may not mean as much as they do to someone else who sees it. Your descriptions may be helpful, but to me they’re not necessary. #2 will give some guidance - but I’m still not going to follow them until I check them out myself. It doesn’t really matter how great your descriptions are or if I’m checking out 2, or 4, or 6, because you are still captive to that character limit. Would I be waiting 2 months for your recommendations (as there are 8 posts?) That could be just as ineffective.

    All that being said, I wholeheartedly agree that some people make recommendations based on a you scratch my back or looking for points game. That’s pretty apparent by what they post - so again, it goes back to who sent the list. It isn’t the list or how it’s written - it’s WHY it’s written. I already know a list from you is not being sent as part of a popularity contest, because it comes from you and I don’t think you are like that. The rest I’ll figure out for myself.

    So I think we’re actually standing behind the same flag.

  4. David Says:

    I’ve never seen the sense of the long lists of recommendations. One might just as well click around on random people in a mad attempt to follow as many as possible - obviously with the cunning plan that at least some will follow back.

    It makes a lot more sense to add at least a brief reason as to why you would suggest this person. Here is a perfect example:

    #followfriday @conniereece thought provoking, great blog & interesting style.

    I don’t buy into the whole “numbers at any cost” use of Twitter. People I follow have to go through a serious approval process - well not quite, but they are all people I find interesting an relevant for me personally.

  5. Connie Reece Says:

    @BarbaraKB - Thanks for that info about Twitter Search and hashtags like #followfriday. I can always depend on you to keep me updated about things like that! I wish you and your family a blessed Easter weekend.

    @Krist - I guess human nature is such that there will always be people looking for shortcuts. Such an app really appeals to those who are looking to “game” Twitter in the sense of adding followers as quickly as possible. I hope the developer takes your advice and adds a blank to specify the reason. That would just be automating the process I’ve described here. However, if people released a dozen or so of those automated tweets at once, it would still strike me as spamming my Twitter stream.

    @Lilyhill - I totally get your point: it’s not so much the short description of why I recommend you follow certain people as it is the authority that you perceive I have in making that recommendation. You and I have followed each other long enough to have a trust level that I would give serious consideration to anyone you recommended, and vice versa.

    The intention of #followfriday, I believe, is to make recommendations for newcomers to Twitter. In that context, it makes sense to give a reason or a description. But it still appears to me that #followfriday is being used far too much by those who are into list-building.

    @David Thanks for visiting and commenting — always nice to hear from someone I’ve just recently connected with on Twitter. I agree with the way you make assessment of those you decide to follow on Twitter. It may not be a lengthy approval process, but anyone I follow must have a photo, URL link and complete profile. Beyond that, there must be some indication that the person shares common interests and uses Twitter in a conversational manner. I check their Twitter stream to make sure it’s not just a bunch of links or retweets but actual interaction with others.

    Thank you all so much for taking time to comment and adding to the discussion.

  6. John Taylor Says:

    What an excellent blog, I’ve added your feed to my RSS reader. :-)

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  1. Lets change #FollowFriday to #SingleFollowFriday Says:

    [...] Others have noticed this behavior as well. Read: Twitter #FollowFriday - Give Us a Reason [...]