Why #FollowFriday is a Joke

Follow FridayHello, I would like you all to know that I know Joe, Bob, Suzy, and Frank. I would also like Joe, Bob, Suzy, and Frank to be notified that I told a couple thousand people that I know them.

I realize that to simply say I know these people would seem a tad bit strange and mostly irrelevant, so I’ll tell you that you should know them too. I don’t really care wether you would like to know them or not. I just want you to know that I know them.

On Twitter, this quizzical behavior manifests itself in the following format:

#FF @twitter @users @I @would @like @to @suck @up @to

We see this happen every Friday. It’s a joke. So much so that I’m choosing to rant about it on a Wednesday. I just want you to be ready before this Friday rolls around.

#FollowFriday in Theory

It all started when Micah Baldwin tweeted the following on Jan 16,2009:

I am starting Follow Fridays. Every Friday, suggest a person to follow, and everyone follow him/her.

He then sent messages to several highly influential friends:

Please retweet this. Follow Fridays – suggest someone to follow / everyone follow / use the hashtag #followfriday

And so it began…

In theory, you pick some of your favorite tweeters, slap an #FF or #FollowFriday hash tag on there and send it out to the world. Your followers see the recommendation and follow those people. Kind of like real life when you suggest an author or a music group.

Some folks still treat the #FF this way. I lovingly refer to them as engagers.

#FollowFriday in Practice

Spammer. Love. Fest.

Bots and less Twitter savvy folks send out droves of names preceded by a #FF. Your feed literally turns into a wall of @ mentions. You get mentioned by 100 people who don’t know you, in the midst of a couple 100 people who don’t care to know you.

All so someone might steal your attention for a couple of seconds.

These people do it wrong. They are, what I call, enragers.

The #RealFF Challenge

Get ready for this on Friday because we’re making it happen.

Recommend people who make your life better.

You wouldn’t walk up to a friend and randomly assign them a list of 5 other friends that you think they should know. You wouldn’t speak in lists of names, so don’t do that on Twitter. Focus on providing value and creating a community.

Perhaps we could format it like this:

#RealFF @username (because/for/to) reason

I’ve provided some examples:

  • #RealFF @donmilleris because he is an incredible author.
  • #RealFF @michaelhyatt because he will make you a better leader.
  • #RealFF @jonacuff for a good laugh.
  • #RealFF @lifehacker for some interesting life hacks.
  • #RealFF @chrisbrogan to learn about the art of human business.
  • #RealFF @Tennessean to keep up to speed in Tennessee.

Let’s tear down the Twitter #FF spam wall and promote people who actually add value to our lives. I’m counting on you to make this happen on Friday.

Photo Credit: Teri Litorco

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  • http://www.bensayin.com Ben Nunes

    I don’t think I’ve ever followed somebody that was mentioned via the FF tag, but I’ll follow/subscribe to a blog via a mention during the week, with a short little “because he’s rad.” Matter of fact, that’s how I came across this blog, although I don’t remember who RT’d you…
    #mentionfail

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Haha well all that matters is you’re here now! Seriously, I wouldn’t tell a friend to go and follow someone else without at least providing a short qualification for that suggestion. For some reason, that happens all the time on Twitter.

  • http://theperkinsblog.net MichaelDPerkins

    I rarely do #ff cause it’s lame. I mean, do I really need to follow all 353 people that someone just suggested? But I’m on on some #RealFF.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Exactly. I would just love it if we took the time to actually endorse people as opposed to simply writing their name down and slapping a #FF on it.

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  • Anonymous

    Kenny, I am on board with you on this one! Great post!

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thanks very much, Michael!

  • Joey Strawn

    I’m in. #RealFF here we come. You’re starting a revolution, my friend.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Let’s do it… Until someone else bastardizes the #RealFF. Then we’ll have to bust out the #RealRealFF…

  • http://twitter.com/anidolheart Grant Jenkins

    I’m in.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thank you, sir.

  • http://twitter.com/jaqchapman Jackie A. Chapman

    I’m proud to say I’ve never posted a #FF or #FollowFriday, or followed someone because of a mention, etc. In short, I’ve never participated for the above reasons you give. I’ll consider #RealFF though….maybe.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      In theory, FF is a great idea if you really think the people you are suggesting will benefit others. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. Join us on Friday and we’ll see what happens. Thanks for reading!

  • Stacey

    Glad you’re making what you already do a challenge to others. Lead by example. I’ll join in!

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thanks, Stacey!

  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com Jason Wert

    Amen to this. I did #FF for a few weeks after joining twitter but haven’t done it in a long time. I pretty much ignore any FF tweets I see these days because I’m either already following the people I enjoy or it’s just a bunch of people I don’t know and don’t seem to be people I’d want to follow. I’ll be interested to see what comes from #RealFF before the spammers get a hold of it.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      I think it’ll last a while. If you see a #RealFF with more than one name in the tweet, it’ll probably be a spammer.

  • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

    #ff @kennysila because he has a cool last name!

  • http://twitter.com/taterhouse Ryan Tate

    Fantastical!

    I never did #ff for the reasons you stated. But for RealFF, I’m in.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thanks, Ryan. Let’s make it mean something!

  • http://stalkingdonaldmiller.weebly.com Robin Matteri

    I absolutely LOVE this. I’m commenting for three reasons 1) The pressure of #FF was becoming overwhelming so I quit it last week. 2) I’m loving your new #FF philosophy and 3) I’m hoping you suck up to me. J/K J/K….kinda… :)

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      No pressure here. Throw out a few #RealFFs for people you really enjoy and think will benefit others. Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.anointedhsmom.blogspot.com Paige

    I agree on all points. I have done very few #ff myself. When I did it was because I truly thought people would benefit from it. I also usually ignore the #ff tweets that I see unless it’s from someone that I do know well and know that whoever they follow might be of interest to me.

    I was very pleasantly surprised to see your FollowFriday tweets this past Friday. I was going to do the same thing but got busy. I had planned to do the same thing this Friday. So I’ll join your challenge happily.

    Thank you for the challenge!

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thanks for joining in Paige. I’m looking forward to your suggestions.

  • http://seekingpastor.wordpress.com seekingpastor

    I did #ff for a few weeks, but quit last week. I like the #RealFF idea. I’m in–at least for a week.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Give it a shot and let’s see what happens. The goal is to raise the value of our communities in an authentic way; not spam.

  • http://www.abrahamchronicles.com Dustin Valencia

    Um, yeah I’ve never been into the whole FF stuff… I’d rather just RT what I like and @reply when it’s appropriate. :)
     
    Great thoughts Kenny!

  • http://www.abrahamchronicles.com Dustin Valencia

    Um, yeah I’ve never been into the whole FF stuff… I’d rather just RT what I like and @reply when it’s appropriate. :)
     
    Great thoughts Kenny!

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      That works too. A lot of people have disregarded the whole #FF thing because it has very little value. Let’s change that.

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    Love it, dude. You’re on my #REALFF list.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thank you, sir. Likewise.

  • Anonymous

    Kudos on this, Kenny! I only do #FollowFriday when there’s someone I really want to recognize and shine a light on. And, when I do it, it’s always one person at a time. I’m with you – that’s the only way that makes sens and adds any value. Why would I want to follow a random name on a list?

    Looking forward to Friday!

  • http://twitter.com/David_LeDoux David LeDoux

    It’s sort of like sifting through the mountain of junkmail on your kitchen counter once a week, looking for the one add or coupon that could actually be of some use to you right now.

  • Anonymous

    Good! Get the word out, cuz it gets so meh…
    i rarely do follow fridays, but if i do it’s like this:

    #FF For Laughs @StephenAtHome For Deals @GrouponLA For Music @TheDrop For Sobriety @JesusNeedsNewPR For Conversation @loswhit #bigwigs
    14 Jan

    or this ;)

    5 tweeps I don’t have 2 follow since their followers RT them non-stop: @revrunwisdom @rickwarren @mashable @cslewis_ @amazon #FF ;-)
    3 Dec

  • http://twitter.com/DataGenesis Mark Prasek

    Kenny, your blogs consistently blow me away! Your right on track. In response to the avalanche of narcissism, I’ve tweeted this

    “I wish everybody would follow ME, read MY tweets, retweet ME, & read MY blog” ~Twitter Users

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  • http://windowsandpaperwalls.wordpress.com/ Cathy

    Yes, some people use #FF for spammy reasons – you can recognize these people because they send 3+ FF tweets in a row, followed by as many names as they can fit in, with no explanations. I ignore these.

    However, I have also found many great people via #FF…especially when I was new to Twitter and really needed some interesting people to follow. If (as you said) someone #FF’s with an explanation of why they like that person, I’m pretty apt to follow them.

    I post #FF’s (although not every week)…I almost always include a reason. Sometimes when someone is new to Twitter and needs to interact with people, or when someone has a great blog and not nearly as many followers as they deserve, I #FF them to get them noticed a little.

    It can be a great tool. But yes, many people put no thought into it. :-)

  • Anonymous

    I feel your pain man. Have issues with the whole #FF as well. Like the idea and will try it. I think this is the same reason why I’m trying to get #OnePost going as well. Inject some thinking an authenticity back into Twitter.

  • Beth McKamy

    Great Kenny…I’m in!! I used to do the #FF, but found myself with too many because I truly didn’t want to leave anyone out, because everyone I follow is important to me. So I stopped totally because it truly became about making a list.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://jornadadeumlider.com Fernando Almeida

    I would add to your lest @tentblogger – John is a great blogger and he has a tremendous expertise on WordPress and about blogging and is sharing it with his readers.

  • http://twitter.com/sweetredds Elle Perry

    Lol @ myself. That’s what #FF means? I always thought it meant Fabulous Friday. So I would #FF my friends and sometimes I would #FF my new followers who are not yet friends in an effort to be friendly. I wonder if, like me, others have the #FF all wrong and are using it in their own unique way and not trying to be engagers or make enragers. Just a thought!