Can we all make #followfriday suck a little less?

by David Spark on August 27, 2009

I’m not a fan of the current format of #followfriday which is currently just a non-contextual listing of @ reply’s to Twitter users you enjoy following.  For example:

richardpoolton_tweetWhile I’m all for being recognized on Twitter (thanks to all the people who have #followfriday’ed me), I’m stunned that the Twitter community has communally accepted the sans justification recommendation.

In every other aspect of your life would you accept a recommendation without reason?

  • “You should hire Susan.”
  • “Brad would be great on your softball team.”
  • “You should go out with Steve.”

In any of those situations would you simply just say, “OK” and then follow up with that person? Of course not. You’d probably first ask why should you hire, enlist, or date the recommended person.

If we ask for justified recommendations in every single aspect of our lives, then why do we behave any differently on Twitter?

My guess as to why this #followfriday format of just listing names came about is the fact that we can fit multiple people in a single tweet. But why jam everyone into a single tweet? Why can’t Richard Poolton (above) simply send out seven separate tweets with a one line explanation as to why we should follow each person? Those recommended people and Richard’s followers would appreciate the context. And it would probably result in more followers. I don’t mean to pick on Richard. Almost everyone who engages in #followfriday does this.

The suggestion of one name per #followfriday with context is the result of an incredibly nice #followfriday I received from PR pro, @rachelakay.

@rachelakay's Follow Friday

So whaddya say everybody? Let’s put an end to #followfriday listing. From now on, here’s my suggested #followfriday policy for all Twitter users:

Each #followfriday tweet should promote just one person along with a “why follow” justification.

Lack of context on tweets is not just isolated to #followfriday. I try to make every tweet self-contained, meaning that each tweet can be read and understood on its own (see “My Personal Twitter Policy. What’s Yours?”).

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Think I should spend my time complaining about something else? Let me know.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel Kay August 27, 2009 at 9:23 pm


Thanks for posting this (and for including me)! I think you summarize the feelings of a lot of people with your thoughts and suggestions. I know I feel a little disenchanted with the numerous lists that go out – so much so that I don’t really pay attention to the recommendations anymore. This is why the #followfriday mention you posted above was my only one that day – because I just felt like recognizing you for something you did that really resonated with me.

I think as soon as the pressure is off to include everyone you know and “return all the favors” we can once again make good quality connections among our communities.


Ben September 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm

I could not agree more, #FF lists are completely arbitrary and they do come across as returned favors. However, I don’t mind seeing the occasional themed list provided it makes sense – “Local Brooklyn blogs on Twitter…” or “Bike Blogs on Twitter…”

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