It didn't take long after I began my current position as a Social Media Account Manager to come across Follow Fridays. One way or another I'd managed to never hear about them before this position, and honestly, I don't think I'm a fan - at least, not of the way many businesses currently utilize and prepare their Follow Friday content.
What exactly is #followfriday, or #FF, you might ask? Follow Friday is when a Twitter user - be it a brand, a small business or an individual - says "Thanks for following me, so-and-so." The idea is that you recommend your new followers in your tweets to other followers.
I like the idea of this; what I don't like is the execution. One of the things that you'll hear over and over about social media is that many people forget that it's meant to be social. To me, the way Follow Fridays are often used is just another example of this. Seeing as social media is about making and enhancing connections, it would make more sense to me if we took time to thank individual followers in a specific, individual tweet. And, in fact, that's what you're supposed to do.
As it is, I usually see as many usernames as possible stuffed into "Follow Friday" updates. And honestly, when I see this, I don't bother reading. Seeing more than a few usernames stuffed side by side into a Tweet is not easy to read and tells me nothing about who the people behind those Twitter handles are - and why would I bother clicking on all of them to find out more about them?
If Follow Fridays are about building connections, they certainly aren't working for me, and I bet they aren't for many others, either. A better idea - and, in fact, the way Follow Fridays are SUPPOSED to work - is to thank someone individually. Plus, in an individual Tweet you may have a few characters left to explain WHO the person you're thanking even is. That would make people like me more inclined to check out their Twitter feed!
Follow Fridays, if done properly, really do have the potential to help people build fantastic connections on local and national levels alike on Twitter. It's a shame that so many businesses and brands don't know how to form a proper Follow Friday thank you; as a result, I continue to dread logging into Twitter on Follow Fridays at work. At least comics like this one show that I'm not the only one who hates this misused practice - knowing you're not alone always makes things better!