I assume you are a Twitter user. I also assume you’ve been around the block a few times and know what #followfriday is. If by assuming, I’ve made an ass of you and me (with apologies to Oscar Wilde), please check out this post at Mashable that outlines how #followfriday began.
As you can tell from the title above, I believe that the #followfriday ritual can be improved. Here’s 3 reasons why I think #followfriday is broken.
- Too Much Clutter. What began as a small percentage of Twitter users recommending just a few people has developed into a much larger percentage of the Twitter user base recommending many, many more tweeps. Some of the worst offenders post as many as a hundred people every Friday (usually the same hundred grouped together in a series of identical posts every Friday).
- Too Much Repetition and Automation. Because of the overwhelming numbers of people “playing” and the increased number of posts and recommendations, #followfriday has grown into the equivalent of Twitter spam. Especially egregious are those users that automate their #followfriday actions. The same batches of #followfriday recommendations hit my stream at the same time of day each Friday, which tells me that those posts are being scheduled at least a week (or maybe even months) in advance.
- Not Enough Value. A quick hypothetical for you. Pretend you’re looking to hire a lawyer to represent you for some reason. You put the word out to your network that you’re looking for references. Two people in your network respond. Bob sends a well thought out e-mail introduction to you detailing his experience with Lawyer Steve. Rick sends you an e-mail with a link to a lawyer directory with 10 listings of lawyers with no further detail. Rick has acted as a listing service. Bob has provided a referral. For me (and I strongly suspect for you too) Bob’s referral holds more value. I believe #followfriday should be about referrals and not listings.
So where do you fall on the #followfriday spectrum? Do you love it or hate it? Or are you somewhere in between? Here’s where I’m at. I refuse to participate in #followfriday in the way many do today. I plan on trying a new approach; one that takes more time and effort, but one that will hopefully add much more value for you.
Reminder for #FollowFriday to suggest fewer people with a reason to follow each. #ff
If everyone followed Scott’s advice, #followfriday would be a much more valuable exercise. Gini Dietrich goes even further. She posts a blog post each Friday with details of why and how she finds value in the person she is recommending to you. Here’s a good example.
So here’s my plan. Each Friday I’ll try to post a blog post with my #followfriday recommendation. In addition to my view of each, I’ll include their responses to a short series of interview questions which should help you discover a bit more about each recommendation. Hopefully the added detail will give you enough background info to decide whether or not to follow them.
Here’s the best part. Not only will this method be more valuable for you, I’m dead certain it will be more fun and way more valuable for me. It will force me to reach out and strengthen existing relationships, get to know the community even better than I already do AND add more value to those tweeps I’m highlighting. Sounds like a win, win, win to me.
What are your thoughts? Think this will work? What would you do? Tune in on Friday for our first #followfriday here at 312 Digital. And shoot me a note on Twitter or in the comments below if you’re interested in being featured on some future Friday!
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