Twitter Tip – Etiquette For Follow Friday (#FF)
Twitter is one of my favorite social media toys available today. For those of you who are active on Twitter, you should already be aware of a little tradition called Follow Friday.
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Follow Friday is a tradition where users of the site tweet about which other Twitter users are worth following, done weekly on each Friday. It is actually quite simple, but opinions vary widely about how and why one should do it.
Dating back 2-3 years, the original tradition was a pretty simple concept – pick your favorite Tweeters, recommend them, and give a blurb about why someone should follow. Over time, as the user base grew and users went from having dozens of followers to thousands, we started to see a change in behavior.
About a year ago, we started seeing people tweeting lists of people to follow, with the #FollowFriday tag attached. (If you do not know about hashtags, it's worth looking up to learn about.) As this continued to evolve, the tag changed from #FollowFriday to #FF to save room for another Twitter handle to be added. Makes sense, no?
Twitter "purists" (ie early adopters) reacted negatively to the behavior. They argued that lists of individuals to follow did not add the right value. Experts were taking a shortcut. It shows mass behavior, which is the antithesis of focusing on relationships over "push" messaging. Surely, these are all valid arguments.
But it misses the point. On Twitter, you can microblog about whatever you choose. You can use the 140 characters for anything you desire. Because it is based on pure "opt in" (choosing to follow or unfollow people overtly, or neither), the population judges by their very behavior. Are people still following me, even if I do the list of users to spread the love more in my limited free time to do so? Sure. So, there is nothing wrong with it.
My point: Do not let people espouse the "rules" about how to use Twitter. Use common sense, listen to your social networking-based friends, and behave in the way that best suits your style, your objectives, and those same online friends. Of course, there most certainly are things from which you want to shy away on Twitter, but overall, just have fun and try not to annoy people, and you will be fine.