These things

a followable story

#FollowFriday – Downfall of a SuperTag…

If you know anything about Twitter you know about #FollowFriday.  This hashtag is one of the most commonly used on Twitter along with other favorites including #musicmonday and #fail.  This search pattern (#hashtag) allows the user to profile their favorite twitterers.  In many cases, this allows a follower to see other users that may be worth following.  It”s a win win.  Right?   hmmph…

Lately, my feeds have shown this hashtag less and less on the past Fridays of 2010.  Where have they gone?  Why is something that once was a mainstream trending topic is now a seldom used triage for pinching at new followers?  I have addressed a few items here which may give light to why this is a “weaning trend”.

My first observation is the sheer amount of time it takes to create a proper #FollowFriday.  To dissect a proper FollowFriday tweet you must adhere to a few rules.

  1. The tweet must include #FollowFriday or #FF (or any combination of the capitalization you may find cute and unique that week)
  2. You must use a mention to your follow worthy friends.  This often includes manually keying avatars or utilizing autocomplete functions that you find in HootSuite and Tweetdeck.
  3. Optional:  Include a snippet of why your followers should follow them.  After all, you don”t want to blindly lead someone astray if you think there is no “real” value to be gained.  
It is simple to do, yet you can spend hours proofing and building these monster tweets while mentioning half the people justin bieber albums followed me on Twitter yesterday. you follow for different reasons.  A few of mine are simple.  I group my friends and offer them towards my speculative followers and in turn up their social capital for others to see.  I would simply mention all my photographer friends and say “#FollowFriday Fav Photogs @___ @___” and then serve this tweet to my followers.  Who knows what happened afterwards!  Sorry guys!  lol
It is very clear why #FollowFriday posts take time.  Large amounts of energy goes into this.  You can spend hours collecting your fav groups and sending them into this trending topic stream hoping they pick up a few value seeking followers.  
It is just not true.  Another observation stems from the success rate or ROI of #FF.  I personally stuck my friends out there for others to see they are quality twitterers and the stats just didn”t compute.  Is it worth it? How do you measure this? You really start asking yourself these question when you log into your Twitter application and start thinking of #followfriday posts and cringe at the thought going through these motions (again).  This may very well be the common dislike shared by the novice to expert level twitterers that seek value.  
As a beginner, you made the time and found pride in building your friends follower list.  It”s new and your friends were doing the same.  Your name was mentioned with some great company and you like the attention.  Then a few months pass and your efforts were colossal and your “ROI” is minimal at best.  How do you gauge your success?   Do you poll your followers?  Simply ask, “Who has followed me from a #FollowFriday mention?”  No….you don”t.
I often wonder, “If I would have spent more time managing valuable content instead of posting FollowFridays, would I have gained more “real” followers?”  It is a question to ask next time you lean on the #ff keys.  
Albeit, #FollowFriday will not disappear.  It is still fun to show your followers who you would recommend and for what reasons.  But, unless I have gauged this trend incorrectly, time is against it as new twitterers become old pros and think of this more as a game than a tool for gaining followers.  
I will admit….I like seeing my favorite brands tweet my avatar among the many loyal fans and of course the homage that is paid by friends when your expertise has been sought after and found.
I would predict to see less and less of this hashtag in the future.
Cheers!

About the Author

I am a husband to a beautiful wife named Whitney and Dad to a wonderful baby boy. Yay! :) Damien Augustus Shaffer has come into this world on March 15th 2010. In my professional life, I have accumulated over 4 years utilizing a wide range of technologies to develop software solutions for my current employer. Most of this time was spent learning methodical approaches within different environments to broaden my programming knowledge and project planning abilities. These environments include both open source and Windows based development, mainly Web. I also dabble in Social Media and it applications in today's culture and marketplace. I consider it a hobby but some may say its an obsession. ;) I enjoy it immensely.