In an article on Mashable.com ("#FollowFriday: The Anatomy of a Twitter Trend", Baldwin said:
The idea is to think of interesting people you already follow and recommend them to others
The idea was laudable -- but what is the reality? Fridays on Twitter quickly became -- and continue to be -- a cacophony of #FollowFriday tweets full of Twitter handles and often little else. (Just do a simple Twitter search on the hashtag, #FollowFriday.)
Baldwin also crowed about the concept going "international" and said:
Is it really crowdsourced recommendations? Is #FollowFriday really encouraging conversation?
Not anymore. #FollowFriday has simply created a society of global social media lemmings: People posting shopping lists of Twitter handles and others willing to follow those listed simply because a third individual told them to (usually not why). Anything of value gets lost in the mob scene on Fridays. (Which is also why I'm posting this on a Tuesday.)
More importantly, I think recommendations ought to be made with the recipient's needs in mind. Just because you may find someone interesting does not mean I will. I don't have the time to be clicking through to the Twitter profiles of all these #FollowFriday tweets to find out if the people you list match my interests or needs or humor, etc.
This doesn't produce good "karma". It's not conversation. It's simply wasted space and time.
What do I think is the most powerful Twitter recommendation of all? A simple retweet.
When someone's retweet is of value to me, I often investigate the original Twitterer. Sometimes I follow them, sometimes not. If I do, it's because I have determined that what they have to offer may be of value to me.
(I refer you to Robert Scoble's interesting "You are SO Unfollowed" posting.)
It would be interesting -- but I suppose impossible -- to get some actual statistical analysis on the efficacy of #FollowFriday tweet versus a retweet. I can tell you from my own experience that I have rarely received a follower because of inclusion in a #FollowFriday tweet -- but I have often received a new follower because of someone retweeting something I shared.
Meanwhile, I not only decline to participate in #FollowFriday, I've found a way to block that hashtag in some of my Twitter applications. What a relief.
Now I can concentrate on people and information that are truly valuable to me.
- Twitter and Follow Friday (b0j3.si)
- A Follow Friday From StudentEvents.com! (studenteventsblog.wordpress.com)