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Why I’ve Never FF’d On Twitter

Posted by on Mar 11, 2011

If you’re on Twitter for any significant time, you know about FF, or Follow Friday. It wasn’t something that existed when I first joined Twitter, but months later it started up. People saw it as a way to help highlight people they follow, but it also promoted themselves because it was an excuse to put out a lot of posts without really saying anything.

I have to say that it’s nice being recognized on Fridays by a lot of people. However, at this point it’s lost its effectiveness. I have some people I’m connected to that do the FF thing every single day, forgetting it was originally only for Fridays. I have some people I really don’t know who do it all the time, and some of those folks aren’t even following me. And what also happens is that people will see their name on one of these lists, and they forward it as their own FF, and now you’re getting messages with your name on the same list over and over.

I never got into participating in the FF when it started. At first I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t a part of it. In retrospect, I think I saw what was coming and I didn’t want to start it and then have to decide it was time to stop.

I also think that it’s a strange thing to recommend that someone follow another person on Twitter without those people actually saying something that’s worth following. Whereas I think it’s nice that some people will send out my Twitter handle as someone to follow, the truth of the matter is that I don’t think I’m putting out ground breaking tweets that really deserve the kudos. I mean, all my blog posts go out, and I’ll share news links of stories that I like. And every once in awhile I will retweet blog posts that I like.

Ground breaking? Nope, not me. And not many people either. For instance, just what has Charlie Sheen said that deserves over 2 million people suddenly following him on Twitter? How are some of these individuals ending up with more followers than news services, which really do put out some pretty good information?

There are some thought leaders worth following, none of which I’m going to mention here because everyone has their own thought leaders that they like. I only follow a few of them, and only one of those people follows me. And I’m okay with that because in this case I want to be aware of what they’re saying enough to not worry that they may never engage me on Twitter. Strangely enough, every one of them has engaged me at least once on their blogs, so it’s all good.

Think about this concept of FF to see if it’s really in your best interest, or in the best interest of the people you’re recommending. Instead of a blanket FF, why not recommend one person at a time that you like and say why? Trust me, that will go a long way, and be much better, because it will stand out and really look more like a personal recommendation from you to your friends and followers. Of course, still check out everyone to see if what they have to offer works for you.

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It is undeniable that a heart-felt, one-on-one testimonial will always be more effective than broadcasting a list of names. Or at least it seems that it should work that way. However, from my own experience, I’ll get maybe a dozen tweets a week where someone liked a blog post and tweeted about it. But this results in little or no discernable change in traffic or twitter followers. Last week a well know author liked what I wrote and tweeted it to his 20,000+ followers. Nothing. But on Follow Fridays (and Saturday as people catch up) I generally pick up 6 or 8 new followers and traffic to my blogs and my business web site rise measurably.

In the world of marketing, this is not a tsunami. It’s a drip. But in my little corner of the world, a half-dozen new followers – who are like minded – builds momentum over time.

Perhaps I have the wrong perspective on Twitter. To me, it’s advertising. I know originally it was intended to be a Borg-like communications device so everyone could tell everyone what they are doing from moment to moment. And I had no interest at all in that. Then the Marketing People laid siege and turned it into a tool for their use, and I can see a little use for that incarnation.

I do participate on #FF but only on Fridays, and only to tweet names (like yours) that I know and feel are worth looking into; mostly other authors and writers. Does it do these people any good? I dunno! But it does cause them to look at me for a moment, and quite a few have started following me, and have been to my sites, and a few have even e-mailed me to talk. That has to be a good thing.

Thanks for opening up this line of thought, Mitch, it’s always a good thing to look at what we do and ask “why”.

March 11th, 2011 | 2:13 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

No problem Allan. Here’s the difference, though. You have a very small following and only follow a few people as well. I have almost 2,800 people following me, and that’s considered small by today’s standards. Some people have 20,000 followers. And those people start sending out FF messages for at least half of those people. Suddenly you’re bombarded and can’t get away from it, and there’s no way you’re going to even attempt to look at any of those people. If more people were circumspect on the names that they’re sending out on FF, then it would mean a lot more. But so many folks are lazy by default because, I’m sure, it gets to be hard to keep up with all those names.

That’s kind of the premise of the post. Doing FF means something if one isn’t just sending out every name they see. Unfortunately, it’s not what I see most Fridays.

March 11th, 2011 | 3:02 PM

You know I used to do #followfriday when it first came out. I would find a few people that had actually interacted with me that week and post them in my #followfriday list with reasons for people to follow them. Now it’s just getting a bit ridiculous with people posting just handles and no reason why to follow. It pretty much renders twitter useless on Fridays in my opinion. I usually just stay away from twitter on Fridays except for posting my blogs.

March 11th, 2011 | 9:14 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

DeAnna, I don’t stay away, I just eliminate all those things and move on with life on Fridays.

March 11th, 2011 | 11:44 PM

I am quite guilty about this one. I mean, I use to do it every Fridays.

And yes your post let me re-think what I am doing.

Some people do their follow Friday by creating a one new blog post and listing their twitter Follow Friday recommendations there along with the description of the tweeps they are recommending. Then that post will be twitted out and I think it is a good strategy as well.

March 12th, 2011 | 3:15 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Ron, that’s probably a much better idea, one I’ve seen as well but never done. Is it something you see yourself doing?

March 12th, 2011 | 12:56 PM

Yep, I will be doing that kind of twitter follow Friday as soon as possible time or in the near future.

March 16th, 2011 | 3:09 AM

Hello Mitch,

I don’t really understand follow friday, why would someone promote someone else or more importantly what will that bring to those that see the tweet. They will still have to go to their profile and decide if they want to follow and most people won’t do it.

I think if people want more people to follow they will find them themselves and not by desperately searching for FF. What’s worse is that spammers may even be able to create programs that will follow the #FF and take all those usernames and mass follow them hoping to gather more reciprocity.

March 12th, 2011 | 9:10 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

As I said Alex, back in the days when the person with the most followers might have had 10,000 or so, it was an interesting way for someone to help their friends out a bit. These days it’s lost a lot of its effectiveness. And you’re right, if you’re being diligent hopefully you’re checking all those people out as well.

March 12th, 2011 | 12:58 PM

Honestly, I have never try it Mitch, actually I even didn’t know about FF, but I have seen a big lift on one of my travel website followers on Friday actually.

March 13th, 2011 | 2:57 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

I’m not sure why that would correlate, Carl, but maybe people love thinking about traveling to new places on Friday.

March 13th, 2011 | 9:55 AM
Sergio Felix:

I wished I could add up to this conversation but I will tell you this, I was featured in a #FF tag, I didn’t even knew what that was.

When following a marketing course I was recommended I automated my DM and after connecting with a lot of bloggers almost everyone of them claims to unfollow the very second they get the automated message.

So it really depends on what you’re going for.

In my personal account, I just auto follow followers but I still write my own tweets and actually care to connect with people.

I’m sincerely looking to stop using the auto follow feature btw.

Have a great day Mitch! 😉

March 16th, 2011 | 1:56 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Sergio, the thing about the auto DM is that everyone knows it’s an auto DM, and DM’s (direct messages for the uninitiated) were set up for private conversations, not what seems like a sales pitch, even if all it’s saying is thanks for following. There are people who recommend that if someone posts a comment on your blog that you should have something to automatically send them out a message thanking them for it to show how much you care. To me, it’s just another piece of junk mail that I delete because it didn’t add anything of substance to my life; just write a reply to my comment if you were inspired to do so and you’ll achieve so much more. Don’t you agree? You have a great day as well. 🙂

March 16th, 2011 | 8:42 AM

I never understood Follow Friday in the first place….it doesn’t make sense to me, just seems like a random traffic generator idea.

March 18th, 2011 | 4:09 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

It had its place, Samantha, but to me that time has come and gone.

March 18th, 2011 | 10:57 AM