Follow Friday is a popular Twitter meme that has been around since early 2009. What is Follow Friday and how did it get started? And what makes a great Follow Friday tweet?
Follow Friday is a way for Twitter users to recommend other Twitter users to their followers. In essence, when you mention someone in a Follow Friday tweet, you’re saying to all of your followers, “You follow me and like my tweets, so you’ll probably also like the tweets from these people, too.”
How Follow Friday Began
Follow Friday can be traced back to this tweet from Micah Baldwin (@Michah) on January 16, 2009.
The concept was simple enough. Suggest a person to follow using the #followfriday hash tag, and your followers should follow them. Since then, #followfriday has been abbreviated to simply #ff.
If you’ve been active on Twitter for any length of time, you’ve likely seen yourself mentioned in a Follow Friday tweet. This is generally a good thing, because it means someone thought you were worthy of recommending that all of their followers also follow you.
The problem with many Follow Friday tweets is that they include very little context. Ideally, when you see one of these tweets, you should have some idea about why this person is worth following. In some cases, the person doing the recommendation may have a great reputation for only suggesting really good people to follow, and you can simply trust their recommendation.
Other times, the context is self-evident, as in this Follow Friday tweet:
It’s pretty clear from the name of the tweeter (@hikinglady) as well as at least one of her follow recommendations (@theSoCalHiker) that these recommendations probably have something to do with hiking. If you’re into hiking (which you probably are if you’re following @hikinglady) then you may well be interested in following these other hikers, too.
What about when you don’t know the tweeter well, and the context of the recommendation is unclear? Should you simply follow their recommendations? What is the proper etiquette for responding to a Follow Friday tweet?
Follow Friday Tweet Etiquette
There are two parts to Follow Friday tweet etiquette: what you do when you receive follow recommendations, and how you make your own #FF recommendations.
First of all, never simply follow everyone who gets suggested unless you have a high level of confidence in the person making the recommendations. Barring that, if it seems like an obvious fit (i.e. the hiking example above), you can make a judgement call. Most of the time, I will take a few moments and actually click to view the user’s twitter profile and recent tweets. I want to make sure their tweets seem to fit the subject and content I would be interested in. And I also ignore any users with the telltale signs of a twitter spammer.
When making your own Follow Friday recommendations, the best way to do it is by adding a little context. At today’s Social Media Masterminds of Orange County — better known simply as SMMOC — Kirsten Wright (@kirstenwright) suggested that rather then sending a long list of names, send a tweet with just one name and a little context explaining why they are worth following.
Fellow SMMOC-er Mel Aclaro (@melaclaro) took this concept one step further and suggested that rather than just posting a list of twitter names, write a blog post introducing you to these people and why they are worth following. You can tweet the Follow Friday announcement with a link to your blog. A great suggestion, and one that I’ll be using in the near future.
Creating a Follow Friday Tweet, Step-by-Step
- Is it Friday? If not, don’t use the #ff hash tag. It’s bad form. Save your Follow Friday tweets for Fridays. If you want, you could use a tweet scheduling service like CoTweet or
Other Twitter Memes
Memes come and go, but Mashable posted a partial list of Twitter memes for every day of the week.
As you grow more comfortable with Twitter, begin using the Follow Friday techniques to share your favorite people and reap the karma you’ve sown.