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Follow Friday: You’re Doing It Wrong!

It’s Friday! Finally. You’ve been waiting all week for this, trudging through each day looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. It has arrived, and what greets you first thing the morning? A Twitter stream full of spammy hashtags & user lists.

Oh, yeah. I forgot. It’s Follow Friday.

Friday is the day where everyone and their brother squeeze as many random people as they can into 140 characters. Does anyone actually click on those? They don’t really seem to provide any value to the tweet stream. And, don’t even get me started on retweeting people who included you.


It has gotten so bad that #FF now trends higher than #FollowFriday, for those who need even more room for their over-stuffed lists. There is a better way. You can recommend your favorite tweeters to your followers without looking like a spammer. And, people will actually follow through!

Choose Carefully

Select just 1 or 2 people to recommend each week. Yes, I know you follow 12489 people, but we don’t need to hear about all of them every, single week. If you really want to recommend everyone, create a schedule for yourself and cycle through it a couple at a time.

Provide Value

Don’t suggest someone just because you know them personally or need to return a favor. They may be a truly lovely person, but if their twitter account is boring, spammy or provides no value to your followers, it isn’t a good recommendation. Your followers trust you. Don’t ruin it.

Give a Reason

Are you really so full of yourself that you think I’ll follow someone just because you said so? If I’m going to allow someone I’ve never heard of into my tweet stream, I’ll need a compelling reason. So, give me one. Be specific: #FollowFriday @Inexpensively for money saving advice, deals and coupons! (Shameless self-promotion.)

Now, you’re not only helping your friends get more followers, you’re helping your followers meet a need.


Encourage Action

Here’s where it gets really cool! If you want your fans to follow your friends (whoa – say that 3 times fast!), don’t just suggest someone. Provide a call to action. Have them say you sent them or ask a question or, I don’t know, come up with something fun of your own, based on your own experiences and interactions with the person you’ve suggested.


Be Thankful, Not a Douche

Retweeting Follow Friday lists is not only a superbly lazy to participate, it comes across as completely egotistical. Serious douchebag move. Instead, reply to those who have recommended you with a quick thank you. If you must, a “Thanks @whoever for the #FF recommendation” could be acceptable. Even better, put them on your list to return the favor another day.

Follow Friday is not a bad concept. It’s just poorly executed. Won’t you please join me in my quest to de-spam the hashtag?

Heather Sokol is a married mother of 3 active girls. In between carpool, Scout meetings and miscellaneous mom jobs, she’s sharing her tips for living life inexpensively.

Posted in Social Networking. Tags: ,

10 Replies

  1. Great article… could be helpful to quite a few people I follow!!! I’ll RT this right’about now!

  2. @burchamdvm Apr 25th 2010

    I like FollowFriday because yes, I do click on those names and start following them!

  3. Great post. I have been guilty of the things you are describing and will pull up my socks forth with!

  4. Hear hear!! I’ve begun doing the one-at-a-time Follow Friday, ever since Kevin Eikenberry suggested doing a #Tweetimonial. Follow Friday has been distorted from what it once was intended for.

    However, in my defense, when I was doing group #FFs, I was still giving a reason: Funny writers, women who make me laugh, redheads, more redheads, artists, etc. I’ll occasionally throw in a “morally obligated because they #FFed me” group tweet.

    But now, I’m trying to stick with one and done model. Thanks for reaffirming the need for this, Heather.

  5. Thanks, legallb!

    @burchamdvm I’m glad you do, but I can tell you from the lack of new followers I get after being on the receiving end of those lists that it isn’t normally case. I’m not saying don’t #FF at all; I just want people to provide a little value when they do.

    @Wendy When we know better, we do better! 😉

    @Erik I think even a short reason like you mentioned adds value to a list. I do like the one-on-one, though. I find myself following almost everyone who is suggested with more personal recommendations.

  6. The most annoying part for me is when someone just suggests a person because he.she knows them personally or need to return a favor.

  7. this is a great post/blog and offers good advice, I part implemented a great idea, but as u say had poor execution, I break my followers down into the groups Im interested in, ie friends, too good to miss, martial arts, social media then I pick the ones I really like and give a more personalised recommend. But I take the point and see the value in ur post.

    you can find me @sifu33 or my work @WealdenGroup on twitter, look forward to seeing you

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