My wife recently started her own blog, about weddings of all things. As you would expect I’ve been helping her get started and part of that process involves teaching her about Twitter.

Within a few days of using Twitter, in fact the first Friday after, I noticed her send out a #FF (Follow FrIday) tweet with about five or six names attached. She of course was oblivious to my thoughts on the matter, but that was enough for me to raise my argument against the blasted things.

First and foremost, the entire Follow Friday routine is tiresome. Yes it had good intentions when it was started by @micah back in 2009 (this is the first FF tweet) but it’s since just lost its purpose and value.
To find this spam-like tweet amongst a stream of (usually) interesting news and status updates is frustrating and a waste of my time, literally. I’d bank on the fact that I waste more time at work on Fridays than any other day because of distracting and ultimately pointless FF tweets. I’d hoped Twitter lists might have just eradicated the ritual entirely but unfortunately that wasn’t to be the case – they still live on.

Assuming they are in fact here to stay, lets set two ground rules:

1) If you’re going to Follow Friday someone, make it just ONE person per #FF tweet per week.

The idea behind Follow Friday is to share a recommendation with your followers in the hope that more people follow that person.

Who really clicks the usernames of people included in these mass FF tweets? Not many I’m sure. I guarantee you I’d click on many more if they just included one person and that person had been carefully selected as that weeks Follow Friday.

Another reason for a Follow Friday tweet is that the person you’re recommending to your followers acknowledges your tweet and is flattered or appreciative.

Quite honestly, whoever feels flattered to be included amongst five other people in a tweet – and probably about twenty other people in other FF tweets that day from the same person – needs a hug. Your Follow Friday wants to feel like you’ve singled them out, you’ve thought just about them, don’t ruin it by including them in a stack of others.

The same principle applies to thanking people via email. What do you think a person would appreciate receiving more; a mass email or an email written just to them?

A side effect of posting more than one Follow Friday tweet is that your Twitter profile is going to look like spam-city when a potential follower sees it full of crappy useless #FF tweets. People want personality and relevant useful information, not a blast of Follow Friday tweets. No matter how interesting you’ve been during the days before, a stream of rubbish won’t bring you more followers, I assure you.

On a related note, did you know there are tools that actually automate the whole Follow Friday process? They actually send out tweets every Friday including the names of people you’ve conversed with most. No, I’m not linking to them.

2) Say why you recommend them.

With all the space you’ve got left in that tweet of yours, fill it up with a simple and complementary explanation as to why everyone should be following them. Don’t go over the top with it, keep it simple and concise and explain why others will benefit from following them.

3) Just do it Friday.

If you absolutely have to do them, and you follow the above ground rules, please keep them to Friday. You’d be surprised how many people decide Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are all good days for Follow Friday’s.

Ok rant over, that’s all I have to say on the topic.. Are you with me?