Do you toss and turn every Thursday night, unable to get more than a fitful sleep, and wake up in a cold sweat every Friday? If so, you’re deep in the first stage of #followfriday (#ff). We’ve all been there. I sure was, for close to two years. I feel for you. We all do. It’s a tough place to dwell.
You know how it goes. When you’re brand-new to Twitter, you’re probably blissfully oblivious to #ff for a couple of weeks. You might see other people doing it, but no one does it to you, so you’re good. Then, at some point, maybe when you have 50 followers or so, someone does it to you. You know, something like this:
Happy #ff @WarrenBuffett @JoeSchmoe @PhilMcCrackin @YourNameHere
“Me!??” You think, all excited. “Somebody did that #ff thing to me! I wonder what it is!” So you Google it, or ask a friend, or if you’re much smarter than me you figure it out for yourself, and now you’re in: people recommend their followers to start to follow you, so you return the favor, and you say thank you to the ones who list you, and…
…And before too much time has passed, your entire Friday is FULL of yet one more thing to do: Your job, as always. And now this #followfriday thing.
“Somebody did that #ff thing to me! I wonder what it is!”
Twitter is a blast 6 days a week. On Fridays, it’s a chore. A really stressful chore, because if you don’t keep up, you’re afraid you’re going to insult your new fans and they’ll scorn you.
This goes on for a year or two. Fridays on Twitter kinda suck. There’s no room for conversation, because everyone’s tweet stream is chock-full of huge, meaningless lists of #ff followed by twitter handles. You can’t find a good article, YouTube video of a talking dog, or interesting blog post – nothing!
There’s no room for conversation.
So finally one day, you opt out. You just stop doing #ff altogether. You’re in stage 2 of #followfriday.
You feel really guilty. You’re consumed by guilt, as a matter of fact – which again ruins your Fridays, although for a different reason.
And then, one day, the guilt is gone. Ahhh…that’s nice.
But you’re resentful. You want your Twitter back, but it’s so clogged with this #ff crap that, as before, you can’t find any real conversations going on. Indeed, some of your best Twitter buddies aren’t even active on Fridays, you notice (yup, they’ve gotten frustrated with the #ff plague in their tweet-streams, too.) Even your own @mention column on Tweetdeck or Hootsuite is so full of these meaningless lists of twitter handles (people with nothing in common to recommend in the same #ff message, you notice) you miss when people are actually trying to reach you.
Even your own @mention column on Tweetdeck or Hootsuite is so full of these meaningless lists of twitter handles.
Now, you’re deeply into the third stage of #followfriday, the (mildly) annoyed stage.
Then, finally one day, you decide to do a study, using your own account as the test subject. You count your new followers every day of the week, and see if there’s anything different with Fridays. You observe week after week for two years solid:
- Does #ff work, and net you more followers than other days?
- Is it the same as other days (which would mean it’s pointless)?
- Do you actually get fewer followers on Fridays as on other days of the week?
Folks, I’ve been studying this for two years, using my own account as the test subject. Let me tell you with certainty: I gain significantly fewer followers on Fridays than the average. So not only is #ff ineffective: it actually obstructs the natural ebb and flow of Twitter. That is why I say, finally, emphatically:
Please, let’s kill #followfriday dead, starting right now.
It just gums things up on Twitter. It interrupts normal, interesting conversation without adding anything of value. You know what else? I hate #ff as a blogger, too, because people don’t find good posts recommended by their friends on Fridays, either.
I hate #ff as a blogger.
Another time, I’ll show you how a couple – really, only a couple – of people who really do a classy and, I think, effective job with their #ff recommendations. My esteemed friend Steve Keating (@leadtoday) is one that really stands out.
But in the meantime, if you want to know who I recommend you #follow, check out my Twitter list called “The Circle” (https://twitter.com/tedcoine/lists/the-circle) Those are many of my favorites. I recommend you follow them every day, not just Friday.
Join us here at Switch and Shift once a week for #socialsaturday, a kind of new feature that we refuse to kill. Oh, and like any good weekend social gathering, bring your friends along to join in the fun!
Image Credit: aleksander1 / 123RF stock photo