Last Friday, as I spent what seemed an inordinate amount of time working on my ‘Follow Friday ritual’, I had to ask myself (with a nod to Carrie Bradshaw), is #FF worth it?
Follow Friday, or the now more popular #FF, started out as a way to help newbies on twitter find interesting people to follow. If I follow someone who I think you might also like to follow, I post an #FF and let you know how great they are. However, what I have seen evolve over time is an ever-increasing love fest that really doesn’t yield many new people to follow at all.
When I was first on Twitter, I was super-excited to receive a Follow Friday from anyone. I would wake up on Friday morning and check my @’s and seeing my #FFs would make my day. The more followers I have gotten, the more #FF’s I have received. And while I am still thankful for the mentions (and still checking for them), I’m starting to wonder if the effort is worth the return, for either party.
You may ask yourself, what effort is involved in #FollowFriday? Well, I’ll take you through the steps of my Follow Friday.
1. Track @ mentions on Tweetdeck for who is giving me props via an #FF. Separate #FF’s from RTs and other mentions and conversations.
2. Near the end of the day, write down all the twitter handles of the people who have #FF’ed me, not including the ones who have RT’ed the #FF from someone else. (This seems to be the latest fad ~ and the quickest way for you to receive another mention). Last Friday I received 23 #FFs.
3. Thank all the people who #FF’d me. I like to do this in one fell swoop, instead of RTing to all my followers every time someone #FF’s me. This gets kind of redundant.
4. Figure out who I am going to #FF. I usually like to do a couple special lists, ie West Coast Tweeps, Tweeps Wearing Shades in Their Avatars, Media Companies I Love, etc. After that I usually do a list of Syracuse University tweeps (can be colleagues, alums, students) and then some locals (Syracuse/CNY). I usually put a star next to, and #FF, people who have #FF’ed me for the first time that day, or tweeps of particular interest (ie w/large followings) or people who I want to build relationships with. I also take a scan through what I have favorited for the week , and see who shows up there. (Those are valuable tweeps) For me, this takes time, effort and thought.
So that’s the ritual. What is the ROI? I know social media people don’t like that question. But I tell you what. I have seen the ROI of #FF go down in direct relation to its popularity.
In my estimation, what began as a good way to introduce your friends to each other has just become a bit of a nuisance, and something that a lot of people scroll right through. The ONLY time I start following someone new based on an #FF is when a particular name catches my eye…and there’s no rhyme or reason. And those are usually based on #FFs in which I am included in the list. I figure if someone likes me, they must like other people LIKE me. So I will click on their name and see if I like their bio. If that passes muster, I check out their profile page. If all they have is a continuous stream of FF’s, I’m probably not going to be dying to follow. So that’s not very effective for them, is it?
The other thing (and this one is probably going to get me in trouble) is that when the same people #FF all the same friends every week, who is that really reaching out to? Why not throw a few new people in the mix and let us see who else is out there? That’s what Twitter is all about, right…building relationships? I already have a relationship with you…if you want to do something nice for me, retweet a blog post or give me a #FF once in a while. I will appreciate it more, and I think it will be more effective for both of us.
I know we will all continue to #FollowFriday and it does have some value. If you’re new to Twitter, I think it can be really valuable in terms of finding people to fill out your tweetstream. For me, in addition to the *fun* aspect of it, I always do find a couple interesting new tweeps to follow, and get a few new followers as well. But that usually happens organically, on a daily basis, without going through the #FF Ritual.
So what do you think about #FollowFriday? Have you found interesting new people? Do you have your own #FF ritual? Do you think it’s become overkill? Share….