Improving Follow Friday

followfriday-zeroTomorrow is yet another day when Twitterers throughout the globe will participate in “FollowFriday”, a well-meaning exercise that started a few months ago (see Tweet Zero —->) of recommending others to follow that has rapidly degenerated into noisy lists of names without attached meaning.

But it can be fixed. Here’s a modest proposal.

followfriday-noiseInstead of seeing how many Twitter handles you can cram into a 140-character post, just recommend one person, and explain why. You can do that nicely in 140 characters, or if you want to be more descriptive (and you’re a blogger), you might want to write up a quick blog post and link to it.

Either way, you’re helping people truly understand why someone is valuable to follow, and it’s a whole lot more complimentary to your subject rather than being one more @name in a list of others.

Even further, I have a suggestion for this Friday. Let’s answer a question together:

Which ONE of your Tweeple would you most want to go on a wine-testing with, & why?

Tell us about this person who’d make a great companion on a tour through a vineyard. What have you “seen” about this person on Twitter (or in real-life!) that makes you wish you could hoist a glass of Cabernet together and chat?

(P.S. Andy Seidl gives some good advice along a similar line here).

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

37 Responses to Improving Follow Friday

  1. This is a great idea! I too find myself getting tired of the noisy follow friday messages. I usually just end up ignoring them. I usually only do a thanks to people who give me followfriday kudos. Maybe I’ll try your method tomorrow.!

  2. I like the way @gracesmith handles the follow-friday, with three tweets with only a who and a why each. Less noise and more good suggestions.

  3. Dea says:

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    I usually thank the people that recommend me and I also find that I only want to recommend people I know online and have dealt with, visited their sites and have gotten value from their content.

    Dea

  4. Andy says:

    What a neat idea! I like a lot of others who are relatively new to Twitter cannot see the benefits of just loads of names on a Friday. It almost seems like a competition with a lot of tweeple to see who can get the most!

    Andy

  5. Ces Loftus says:

    This is a way to add real “follow Friday” value to those you think deserve to be followed.
    A wise man (Richard White – The Accidental Salesman) tweeted yesterday that it is not just about who you know (quantity) but about who you trust and value (quality), so a less is more and detailed recommendation for tweeps we think can really be of benefit to others sounds like a good way forward to me!
    @Ces_Creatively
    Creative Director at http://www.creativelyminded.com

  6. annhandley says:

    Honestly, I don’t usually do Follow Friday because I’m uncomfortable with playing favorites… when in truth I value lots of different people for lots of different reasons. But I do like this idea… or maybe I just like the wine? hmm.

    @marketingprofs

  7. Thanks for this post – I finally “got“ the concept of “followfriday“ and thanks for the suggestion, which is great. I will definately “follow“ ;-)

  8. cheth says:

    Yea this is definetely what everyone should think of.. followfriday has become more of popularity contest these days..

  9. I’m all for this idea. There is definitely a lot of noise out there. It is fairly often that I don’t even know why people I follow are recommending the people on their #followfriday lists.

    I guess I’ll have to start thinking of my pick for tomorrow…

    Brandon

  10. deanmeistr says:

    I really like the #followfriday meme, and I look forward to suggestions that, as you say, are based around a reason to connect, not just a stream of @ symbols. I have also noted that some people (including myself) will sometimes give an enthusiastic “follow this person even if it isn’t #followfriday” when the moment strikes. Though I’m not a wine drinker, I think it’s a great idea to stimulate suggestions around a concept, and I hope others follow suit. Who would you suggest to explore a city you have never visited, and why?

  11. DaveMurr says:

    I always try to provide a one follow suggestion per tweet. A write up about that person and why I follow them. Its far more personable instead of the ‘hey follow them’ bulk tweet.

    Isn’t it strange how wine and twitter fit so well together? There’s got to be a case study in there somewhere..

  12. Ken Burbary says:

    Steve,

    I like this idea, a lot. And I can easily answer that. I would like to go on a wine tasting with my friend @wcwineguy because he is a certified master sommelier and knows more about wine than anyone I know. Drinking good wine and learning about the regions it comes from. Yum Yum

  13. Yes, lists of names are pretty meaningless. I always tend to qualify my FF recommendations – grouping similar people together and saying why I and others should follow them.

  14. What about those of us who don’t drink vino? Can I go on a coffee-tasting instead? Great idea, too! Steve O

  15. Steve, thanks for helping to spread this idea! Hopefully we *can* make FollowFriday useful again.

    One technical point worth reiterating… even if you want to put multiple people in one tweet, *don’t* start the tweet with an @ sign. Doing so makes it a *reply* and limits who even sees the tweet. For more on this, see the “Who notices?” part of:

    http://faseidl.com/public/item/229791

  16. Glenn Hilton says:

    I ignore the #followfriday lists myself, but do appreciate it when someone singles out an individual. Couple of tweeters who do a good job of this are @cymberly & @katjaib. It would be great if more tweeps would follow your lead on this Steve. Thx for sharing.

  17. I’ve tried all different approaches to Follow Friday Tweets. My most favorite is the one you suggest: one tweet per person with an acknowledgment of the person, AKA a reason to follow.

    My second most favorite type of FF Tweet is to group 2-4 together for some logical reason, like “Radio show hosts who offer solid information …”

    Having fun is the key.

  18. Perfecto. The whole thing’s gotten a little noisy lately. I’ve tried to follow this model in the past, mostly for my own sanity… I want to be able to tell people why @swoodruff is a genius, and I see the 140 limit as a challenge, like writing a haiku using the word “hummingbird” in there somewhere.

    Now, back to Twitter to RT this on the personal and biz sides, so we can help manage this before it gets TOTALLY out of control.

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  20. kmccabe says:

    What about having #FollowFriday categories where people give a short bit of info about what the other does….or others…

    ie. this would be relevant to Oshyn_Inc….

    #followfriday 4 #CMS @ #usernames here….

    or instead of #CMS: #webdesign, #soa, #IEFACES, #javascript, #iphoneapp etc etc

  21. Mark Fulton says:

    This is a cool concept. I too was disturbed by the “spamy” feel of adding a ton of profiles to a single tweet and slapping a tag on it.

    This was the inspiration for creating http://FollowLists.com – a free twitter tool launched just last Friday. Follow Lists allows you to quickly create and share lists of your favorite twitter people.

  22. Perfect – exactly the type of advice needed to create a more useful (and lasting) Twitter experience for all. Just tweeted your recommendation.

    But why restrict more these more detailed recommendations to just Follow Friday?

    What about “Follow Today”?

  23. Thanks, all for the comments – I look forward to seeing what Friday brings.
    And, OK, OK for you teetotalers – you can substitute a coffee bar!

  24. Vanache says:

    As far as #FollowFriday is concerned, I share the same sentiments. I rarely recommend anyone to be followed on the actually day, and when I do suggest a friend or 5, I make sure I give reasons why I think they should be followed. I mean it’s common sense. Plus it kinda takes away from the detachment that you get from social media .. haha..

  25. gillardg says:

    that’s a great idea
    who and why I’ll do it

    thank you

  26. Wade says:

    I do #shoutoutsat on Saturdays just to single out someone who’s doing something really cool or philanthropic.

    @wadeontweets

  27. narciso17 says:

    I’d like to think that I have already been doing this…but, in reality, I may not do it as well as I could/should. With that in mind, I will use tomorrow’s #followfriday as making my suggestions a bit more thoghtful and specific.

    This is NOT TO SAY that I have been throwing out some names (willy-nilly). Quite the contrary: I stand behind every one of the folks I recommend – they’re all rock stars in my opinion.

    However, this certainly looks like a GREAT idea to embrace in social media – especially since it’s all about keepin it real :)

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  29. Alan Wolk says:

    This irresponsible post just serves to encourage alcoholism. Why encourage wine testing? Why not water testing or juice testing or something equally healthy. You might even have asked “Who would you like to raise money for a worthy cause with?”

    But sadly, rather than use this as an opportunity for social good, you’ve turned it into yet another occasion for bacchanalia and irresponsibility.

    This is actually a great idea. I’ve been ignoring follow friday for a while now. having one person and why would make a lot more sense.

  30. All right, Alan, for you – a person you’d most enjoy a raw cauliflower hors d’oeuvre with a lo-cal chive dip and recycled tap water. But then again, no-one would join you for that…! :>}

  31. Pingback: Follow Friday: A wine-tasting excursion

  32. Jane Chin says:

    I’m outta this one because I don’t drink!
    On the other hand, if any of you want to climb Mt. Baldy…

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