What is Follow Friday?

As Ron [Hubel] so aptly states above, “Follow Friday on Twitter is a little tradition they have every Friday where people recommend to their followers other people to follow.” Basically, we give a shout out to people we respect, find interesting, or are otherwise not annoying. On a platform that is “me, me, me” all the time – we take a break and ritualistically show some humility by shamelessly promoting our friends.

Where did it all begin?

#FollowFriday was launched into the stratosphere by @micah back in January ’09 with a simple tweet recommending two of his friends for his followers to follow. The rest, well, is history. Today there are well over 250,000 #FollowFriday tweets sent out every Friday!

Who cares?

The main reason #FollowFriday has turned into such a wide-spread Twitter phenomenon? ROI. In short, people want followers (you can argue with me on this point that the number of followers doesn’t matter – but let’s face it, none of us mind if we end up with thousands of followers. More followers equals more eyes on whatever you’re putting out there. You invest time suggesting other people in hopes they’ll invest their time suggesting you, thus completing the Follow Friday circle of life. It’s simple and when all is said and done, it works – I’ve met some great folks based on a Follow Friday recommendation and I’m sure you have too.

What makes you follow-worthy?

Ultimately, to earn the respect and recognition of others, you not only have to be putting out some great content yourself – you need to be a resource in whatever your field may be – this is especially true from a business perspective. If I’m an indie-coffee shop on Twitter, I don’t want to focus solely on the brew of the day at my shop – I want to talk about community events, share some fun facts about coffee, talk about the music that’s playing in the shop – topics and information that is relevant to my target consumer. When you do that, people not only depend on you for your own business information, but rather as an overall community resource. Those who achieve ‘thought leadership’ in their respective field or area of interest are the ones who get mega #FollowFriday love. And as we all know, that’s what life is all about – getting a few compliments before we head into our weekend. “Making new friends…in a forceful, aggressive way.”

What’s your #FollowFriday philosophy?

Join the conversation! 58 Comments

  1. I have not used #FF much since jumping back into the Twitersphere recently but you make some really great points. I do have to say that I have met some great people who have suggested me. So from now on I think I will make much more of a conscious effort to share the #FF love. Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • I make an effort to pay attention to the people I trust and relate to on Fridays – Every time I think I’ve grown my community to the point of a dead end, I somehow stumble across even more interesting people. There are millions of folks out there to connect with – it’s up to us as individuals to reach out and make an earnest effort to connect.

      Reply
  2. I have not used #FF much since jumping back into the Twitersphere recently but you make some really great points. I do have to say that I have met some great people who have suggested me. So from now on I think I will make much more of a conscious effort to share the #FF love. Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • I make an effort to pay attention to the people I trust and relate to on Fridays – Every time I think I’ve grown my community to the point of a dead end, I somehow stumble across even more interesting people. There are millions of folks out there to connect with – it’s up to us as individuals to reach out and make an earnest effort to connect.

      Reply
  3. I do a #ff (if you need to save precious character space!) every other week of about 5-7 Twitter folks that I follow. I can’t STAND however the people who just throw a bunch of names into a Tweet. Sadly most are social media folks who think they’re kind of a big deal, I however have yet to see them that way. Why would I follow someone based purely on your tossing their name in a jumble of a bunch of other Twitter handles.

    When I do #ff recommendations I’ll put why I follow them and why someone else should, too. I find much better return on the following when it is approached that way rather than the handle-jumble. Oh, and the reasons should be pretty specific, too. I was once #ffed by someone else with the phrase “#ff @opheliaswebb Cause I just met her and she seems pretty cool.” Gee, who wouldn’t want to follow me after that?! :P

    Reply
    • I agree 100% Elisa – this was actually going to be a point I made in this post but ended up leaving it out. #FollowFriday has become so ‘mainstream’ in that it’s the ‘cool and nice’ thing to do – but it’s become more about personal gain that engaging in an act of generosity (aka expecting people will give you a shout out just because they did you).

      The most effective ‘philosophy’, as you have laid out, is focusing on one or two people and telling everyone WHY they need to be followed and what value they bring to the table.

      Reply
  4. I do a #ff (if you need to save precious character space!) every other week of about 5-7 Twitter folks that I follow. I can’t STAND however the people who just throw a bunch of names into a Tweet. Sadly most are social media folks who think they’re kind of a big deal, I however have yet to see them that way. Why would I follow someone based purely on your tossing their name in a jumble of a bunch of other Twitter handles.

    When I do #ff recommendations I’ll put why I follow them and why someone else should, too. I find much better return on the following when it is approached that way rather than the handle-jumble. Oh, and the reasons should be pretty specific, too. I was once #ffed by someone else with the phrase “#ff @opheliaswebb Cause I just met her and she seems pretty cool.” Gee, who wouldn’t want to follow me after that?! :P

    Reply
    • I agree 100% Elisa – this was actually going to be a point I made in this post but ended up leaving it out. #FollowFriday has become so ‘mainstream’ in that it’s the ‘cool and nice’ thing to do – but it’s become more about personal gain that engaging in an act of generosity (aka expecting people will give you a shout out just because they did you).

      The most effective ‘philosophy’, as you have laid out, is focusing on one or two people and telling everyone WHY they need to be followed and what value they bring to the table.

      Reply
  5. Haha i loved that video, good find! I’ve gotten to where I use follow friday a lot less because I think the fewer recommendations you give, the more meaningful each one becomes. So, I’m trying to get to where some weeks I’ll just give 2 or 3 and spend more time telling WHY people should follow them, whereas other weeks I may not give any. I like highlighting people who were helpful over the week in answering any questions I may have had, new people I’m following that provide a lot of content, or just someone I’ve had some interesting conversations with. So, I guess I go with the less is more approach.

    Reply
    • Less truly is more – I think this has all been cyclical. When I first jointed Twitter, #FollowFriday was THE way to meet new people – everyone sent out lists of names but at the time it was widely accepted .Now, as with a lot of things – we demand more (quality) – We want to be told why a complete stranger is worth our time, and more importantly, what they will provide us with.

      Reply
  6. Haha i loved that video, good find! I’ve gotten to where I use follow friday a lot less because I think the fewer recommendations you give, the more meaningful each one becomes. So, I’m trying to get to where some weeks I’ll just give 2 or 3 and spend more time telling WHY people should follow them, whereas other weeks I may not give any. I like highlighting people who were helpful over the week in answering any questions I may have had, new people I’m following that provide a lot of content, or just someone I’ve had some interesting conversations with. So, I guess I go with the less is more approach.

    Reply
    • Less truly is more – I think this has all been cyclical. When I first jointed Twitter, #FollowFriday was THE way to meet new people – everyone sent out lists of names but at the time it was widely accepted .Now, as with a lot of things – we demand more (quality) – We want to be told why a complete stranger is worth our time, and more importantly, what they will provide us with.

      Reply
  7. Eh, I’m not a big fan and I haven’t participated in awhile. Like Elisa said most people that do it just go with #FF and a list of names that means nothing to me. I think there’s value in it when someone I trust uses the practice to recommend 1 or 2 people per tweet with an explanation of how they could potentially provide value, but these are few and far between. Some have taken to listing 5 people on their blog on Friday with a full explanation. I think that’s a great approach.

    Reply
    • Agreed Ryan – I think the blog approach is nice, or if nothing else, dedicating an entire tweet to each individual person you are recommending. Give me a reason to follow someone – don’t just spew a bunch of names out there. To many, #FollowFriday has become more about themselves than it is about promoting someone else.

      Reply
  8. Eh, I’m not a big fan and I haven’t participated in awhile. Like Elisa said most people that do it just go with #FF and a list of names that means nothing to me. I think there’s value in it when someone I trust uses the practice to recommend 1 or 2 people per tweet with an explanation of how they could potentially provide value, but these are few and far between. Some have taken to listing 5 people on their blog on Friday with a full explanation. I think that’s a great approach.

    Reply
    • Agreed Ryan – I think the blog approach is nice, or if nothing else, dedicating an entire tweet to each individual person you are recommending. Give me a reason to follow someone – don’t just spew a bunch of names out there. To many, #FollowFriday has become more about themselves than it is about promoting someone else.

      Reply
  9. I was a fan in the beginning of it all. But slowly, people started just spewing as many names as they could at once, with no reason behind why they recommended following those people.

    I’m more of a fan of the blog post approach now, where people like Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich) and Danny Brown (@dannybrown) pick a handful of people every week and give a nice summary of why they recommend those people.

    Overall, I think the concept is great. I think people have sort of cheapened it now though.

    Reply
  10. I was a fan in the beginning of it all. But slowly, people started just spewing as many names as they could at once, with no reason behind why they recommended following those people.

    I’m more of a fan of the blog post approach now, where people like Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich) and Danny Brown (@dannybrown) pick a handful of people every week and give a nice summary of why they recommend those people.

    Overall, I think the concept is great. I think people have sort of cheapened it now though.

    Reply
  11. I used to recommend each person individually, but now I’ve quitted. I don’t think they have the same effect, and I couldn’t help to feel that I was doing it for my own benefit. I don’t like doing things for my own benefit pretending that they are not. I respect people who do it, but I think that we need a better way now to recommend people.

    PS: I obviously agree with Elisa regarding those massive #FF recommendations. Pointless noise.

    Reply
  12. I used to recommend each person individually, but now I’ve quitted. I don’t think they have the same effect, and I couldn’t help to feel that I was doing it for my own benefit. I don’t like doing things for my own benefit pretending that they are not. I respect people who do it, but I think that we need a better way now to recommend people.

    PS: I obviously agree with Elisa regarding those massive #FF recommendations. Pointless noise.

    Reply
  13. I also try to do the couple followers every week thing and give a succinct reason why I believe they are of value to the other followers. I think, though, a lot of the time, there’s an unspoken pressure to do Follow Friday; otherwise, you risk looking like a selfish user who doesn’t reach out to the community. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • You bring up a very interesting point Vicki – I think there is a lot of pressure – especially if someone sends you a #followfriday shout-out but you don’t really know how to respond. I’ll follow up with a question: Do you feel obligated to send someone a #followfridaty shout-out if they’ve done so for you?

      Reply
  14. I agree with Tim. At first I was all for it and started sharing names in bunches. Eventually I started cutting back and only choosing one or two people to recommend and provided a reason.

    I’ve noticed that it sometimes turns into a popularity contest, so I appreciate people who take the time to explain why I should be following a certain person. I’ve found some really interesting and inspiring people through Follow Friday so I’m pretty thankful.

    Reply
    • Agreed Jenn – I probably wouldn’t have met half the people who commented here if it wasn’t for a friend’s #FollowFriday recommendation.

      Reply
  15. I also try to do the couple followers every week thing and give a succinct reason why I believe they are of value to the other followers. I think, though, a lot of the time, there’s an unspoken pressure to do Follow Friday; otherwise, you risk looking like a selfish user who doesn’t reach out to the community. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • You bring up a very interesting point Vicki – I think there is a lot of pressure – especially if someone sends you a #followfriday shout-out but you don’t really know how to respond. I’ll follow up with a question: Do you feel obligated to send someone a #followfridaty shout-out if they’ve done so for you?

      Reply
  16. I agree with Tim. At first I was all for it and started sharing names in bunches. Eventually I started cutting back and only choosing one or two people to recommend and provided a reason.

    I’ve noticed that it sometimes turns into a popularity contest, so I appreciate people who take the time to explain why I should be following a certain person. I’ve found some really interesting and inspiring people through Follow Friday so I’m pretty thankful.

    Reply
    • Agreed Jenn – I probably wouldn’t have met half the people who commented here if it wasn’t for a friend’s #FollowFriday recommendation.

      Reply
  17. Good post on #followfriday. Nice overview and explanation. I do have one bone to pick:

    “The main reason #FollowFriday has turned into such a wide-spread Twitter phenomenon? ROI. In short, people want followers…”

    While this is true, it is not the reason #followfriday got so big. There is no inherent recommendation function within Twitter. There is the suggested follow list, but we all know thats bogus.

    What better way to find interesting people to follow than to have them recommended by your friends?

    I know this is true by the behavior of the 300-1000 people that follow me every friday. Usually, by thursday 200-900 of them have stopped following me. Why? Most likely because the vast majority just dont find me interesting. (Of course there are some that are hoping for the auto-follow, but given I follow less than 10% of the people that follow me, thats a pretty silly notion).

    Again, great post, and I love Rob’s video…

    Reply
    • Great to have your input here Micah – who better to comment than the creator of #FollowFriday himself?

      I think there are two sides to the coin here – on one hand, it is about sharing people who you find interesting or of some ‘value’ that warrants sharing with your followers – we trust the recommendations of our friends – if someone tells me this person is awesome, odds are I’m going to believe them.

      But as many have stated it’s become a ‘I scratch your back you scratch mine’ approach – People are thinking “If I recommend Matt, hopefully he’ll recommend me and then I’ll gain followers” – the goal has become somewhat distorted over time, and continues to evolve.

      Just curious, what kind of publicity have you received from all this? Has Twitter contacted you or anything, being that this has to be the number one trending topic every Friday?

      Thanks for coming by – look forward to connecting more in the future.

      Reply
  18. Good post on #followfriday. Nice overview and explanation. I do have one bone to pick:

    “The main reason #FollowFriday has turned into such a wide-spread Twitter phenomenon? ROI. In short, people want followers…”

    While this is true, it is not the reason #followfriday got so big. There is no inherent recommendation function within Twitter. There is the suggested follow list, but we all know thats bogus.

    What better way to find interesting people to follow than to have them recommended by your friends?

    I know this is true by the behavior of the 300-1000 people that follow me every friday. Usually, by thursday 200-900 of them have stopped following me. Why? Most likely because the vast majority just dont find me interesting. (Of course there are some that are hoping for the auto-follow, but given I follow less than 10% of the people that follow me, thats a pretty silly notion).

    Again, great post, and I love Rob’s video…

    Reply
    • Great to have your input here Micah – who better to comment than the creator of #FollowFriday himself?

      I think there are two sides to the coin here – on one hand, it is about sharing people who you find interesting or of some ‘value’ that warrants sharing with your followers – we trust the recommendations of our friends – if someone tells me this person is awesome, odds are I’m going to believe them.

      But as many have stated it’s become a ‘I scratch your back you scratch mine’ approach – People are thinking “If I recommend Matt, hopefully he’ll recommend me and then I’ll gain followers” – the goal has become somewhat distorted over time, and continues to evolve.

      Just curious, what kind of publicity have you received from all this? Has Twitter contacted you or anything, being that this has to be the number one trending topic every Friday?

      Thanks for coming by – look forward to connecting more in the future.

      Reply
  19. I love the *idea* behind follow friday, but unfortunately I think it’s not always as effective as it could be. Like many people have said above…it’s often pointless to just pump out a bunch of people’s usernames without any reason as to why they are worthy of following. I’ve stopped doing it now, although I still appreciate those who put my name out there.

    I try to once in a while recommend specific people who I think are follow-worthy. And I don’t always do it on Friday. Like I said I still think the concept of recognizing others is great, but it needs to be done more effectively. I like to put a little bit about what the person I’m recommending tweets about, so people can have more incentive to follow them.

    Reply
    • I’ve sort of taken the same stance Akhila – I don’t limit myself to Friday’s when it comes to recommending people. I’ll gladly write a tweet about anyone who I think other people should follow, regardless of the day. Don’t give up hope Akhila – there is still a lot of value in #FollowFriday when you take the time to actually put some thought behind your recommendations.

      Reply
  20. I love the *idea* behind follow friday, but unfortunately I think it’s not always as effective as it could be. Like many people have said above…it’s often pointless to just pump out a bunch of people’s usernames without any reason as to why they are worthy of following. I’ve stopped doing it now, although I still appreciate those who put my name out there.

    I try to once in a while recommend specific people who I think are follow-worthy. And I don’t always do it on Friday. Like I said I still think the concept of recognizing others is great, but it needs to be done more effectively. I like to put a little bit about what the person I’m recommending tweets about, so people can have more incentive to follow them.

    Reply
    • I’ve sort of taken the same stance Akhila – I don’t limit myself to Friday’s when it comes to recommending people. I’ll gladly write a tweet about anyone who I think other people should follow, regardless of the day. Don’t give up hope Akhila – there is still a lot of value in #FollowFriday when you take the time to actually put some thought behind your recommendations.

      Reply
  21. Good, I’m happy Micah put his two cents in!

    I really liked the idea of it in the beginning, because you trust your friends, so you most likely will trust who they recommend. I was really interested in meeting and connecting on Twitter (that is still one of the biggest reasons I use it) so I found some valuable people through #FollowFriday. However, I now see people do long, long lists of people to follow without saying why or how and they tweet a group of about 20 different people (if not more). I think there’s less quality there.

    So now, if I’m really moved by someone new I’ve been following on Twitter, recently met, talked with, etc. then I will without a doubt, recommend them on #FollowFriday and say WHY. Some Friday’s I don’t participate at all. I really want to add value to my followers and the community, so I will be deliberate in what I recommend I suppose…good thoughts, Matt!

    Reply
    • Thanks for providing the intro Grace! I’ve become the same way – I don’t actively participate in #FollowFriday all the time, but will gladly recommend someone when it makes sense to do so, regardless of time or day. I think that it’s still a good practice, for all of us, to share the good word of those people who we find interesting, valuable, funny, or whatever adjective you’d like to use. Half of you probably wouldn’t have found me if people never recommended me on Fridays’.

      Reply
  22. Good, I’m happy Micah put his two cents in!

    I really liked the idea of it in the beginning, because you trust your friends, so you most likely will trust who they recommend. I was really interested in meeting and connecting on Twitter (that is still one of the biggest reasons I use it) so I found some valuable people through #FollowFriday. However, I now see people do long, long lists of people to follow without saying why or how and they tweet a group of about 20 different people (if not more). I think there’s less quality there.

    So now, if I’m really moved by someone new I’ve been following on Twitter, recently met, talked with, etc. then I will without a doubt, recommend them on #FollowFriday and say WHY. Some Friday’s I don’t participate at all. I really want to add value to my followers and the community, so I will be deliberate in what I recommend I suppose…good thoughts, Matt!

    Reply
    • Thanks for providing the intro Grace! I’ve become the same way – I don’t actively participate in #FollowFriday all the time, but will gladly recommend someone when it makes sense to do so, regardless of time or day. I think that it’s still a good practice, for all of us, to share the good word of those people who we find interesting, valuable, funny, or whatever adjective you’d like to use. Half of you probably wouldn’t have found me if people never recommended me on Fridays’.

      Reply
  23. My philosophy towards #followfriday is fussiness. That is, I do what Tim referred to above – the “blog post” approach. I don’t do it every Friday, but when I do, I choose ONE person who I think adds value to Twitter. I write a relatively short blog post explaining why, and that’s that.

    @curiousillusion and I have been attempting this for a while, using the additional hashtag of #3f (for Fussy Follow Friday), and there are a handful of folks who have shared in this idea. One thing I have noticed – pretty much everyone I feature as my #3f recommendation is VERY appreciative. As I would be myself – it’s one thing to be included in a random tweet, it’s another for someone to feel you bring enough value to their network to use space on their blog to share that with their readers.

    Reply
    • I like this a lot Matt (hello by the way – we need to grab lunch sometime). There is a big difference between ‘sharing the love’ on Twitter and using your own turf as a platform. Whatever way you spread the word – keep doing it – social networking is all about interacting and connecting with new people.

      Reply
  24. My philosophy towards #followfriday is fussiness. That is, I do what Tim referred to above – the “blog post” approach. I don’t do it every Friday, but when I do, I choose ONE person who I think adds value to Twitter. I write a relatively short blog post explaining why, and that’s that.

    @curiousillusion and I have been attempting this for a while, using the additional hashtag of #3f (for Fussy Follow Friday), and there are a handful of folks who have shared in this idea. One thing I have noticed – pretty much everyone I feature as my #3f recommendation is VERY appreciative. As I would be myself – it’s one thing to be included in a random tweet, it’s another for someone to feel you bring enough value to their network to use space on their blog to share that with their readers.

    Reply
    • I like this a lot Matt (hello by the way – we need to grab lunch sometime). There is a big difference between ‘sharing the love’ on Twitter and using your own turf as a platform. Whatever way you spread the word – keep doing it – social networking is all about interacting and connecting with new people.

      Reply
  25. Funny video and interesting topic. Since I’m all about appreciation, I think #followfriday is a quick and easy way to show well-deserving bloggers a little love. When I first jumped on the #ff bandwagon, I was one of the name listers, but now I try to follow the example of people like Elisa and actually explain why someone is worthy of a follow.

    Reply
  26. Funny video and interesting topic. Since I’m all about appreciation, I think #followfriday is a quick and easy way to show well-deserving bloggers a little love. When I first jumped on the #ff bandwagon, I was one of the name listers, but now I try to follow the example of people like Elisa and actually explain why someone is worthy of a follow.

    Reply
  27. Although I’ve been recommended on #followfriday, I haven’t done much recommending. Does that make me a bad person, or just a not-so-bright Twit?

    Reply
    • It doesn’t make you an ignorant-tweeter Park. I say to each his own – but it never hurts to show a little support for those people you genuinely think deserve the recognition. Something to think about this Friday and moving forward.

      Reply
  28. Although I’ve been recommended on #followfriday, I haven’t done much recommending. Does that make me a bad person, or just a not-so-bright Twit?

    Reply
    • It doesn’t make you an ignorant-tweeter Park. I say to each his own – but it never hurts to show a little support for those people you genuinely think deserve the recognition. Something to think about this Friday and moving forward.

      Reply
  29. to reiterate what everyone else has already said, I think that #followfriday (#ff) is a great thing is you have someone that is worth recommending, not just throwing a long list of names up. I know, that for me, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside when someone says something really nice in a #ff of me so i try to create that feeling for whomever I am recommending. Also, I don’t do it every friday because I want them to mean something and so I believe that they have more weight behind them when it is sporadic and well thought out.

    Reply
  30. to reiterate what everyone else has already said, I think that #followfriday (#ff) is a great thing is you have someone that is worth recommending, not just throwing a long list of names up. I know, that for me, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside when someone says something really nice in a #ff of me so i try to create that feeling for whomever I am recommending. Also, I don’t do it every friday because I want them to mean something and so I believe that they have more weight behind them when it is sporadic and well thought out.

    Reply
  31. Agreed, and I will. Got a nice chuckle out of the video too. Great entertainment. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Reply
  32. Agreed, and I will. Got a nice chuckle out of the video too. Great entertainment. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Reply
  33. Your site is now featured on Thesisgallery.com!

    Don’t forget to stop by and rate your site and please tell your friends about http://www.thesisgallery.com!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the heads up Katie – great to be featured amongst some fellow Thesis designers. Life Without Pants is a work in progress – but we’re getting there. As you pass through from time to time, feel free to share any suggestions or feedback you may have. Cheers!

      Reply
  34. Your site is now featured on Thesisgallery.com!

    Don’t forget to stop by and rate your site and please tell your friends about http://www.thesisgallery.com!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the heads up Katie – great to be featured amongst some fellow Thesis designers. Life Without Pants is a work in progress – but we’re getting there. As you pass through from time to time, feel free to share any suggestions or feedback you may have. Cheers!

      Reply

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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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