Be it Black Friday, Freaky Friday, TGIF or Friday the 13th : the last day of the work week is ruled by anxiety. One of Twitter’s most popular trending topics, “Follow Friday” is supposed to be some kind of authentic recommendation of Twitter users one suggests to follow. I remember this kind of working in the earlier days of Twitter. I believe when Sh*t My Dad Says was picked up for a TV show, it coincided around the time of the demise of the Follow Friday’s effectiveness.
Twitter is ultimately a ‘numbers game.’ Below your username, small avatar and brief bio are your stats laid out, loud and proud. Your number of tweets, your following number, your followers number, and your listed number. People don’t just want to know how many followers you have, they want you to have a low following to high followers ratio. Follow Friday, or “#FF,” is now recognized as a thinly veiled strategy to gain followers by the recommendation of others. At this point, it is basically tweet pollution.
There are a few reasons I would like people to seriously considering cutting out their participation in Follow Friday, starting now:
It looks like a mess.
Come Friday, my stream is bombarded with ‘#FF:’s, ‘@’s, ‘!’s to the point when it just looks like people are swearing in MAD magazine comic. With each tweet scrambling to include as many people as possible, I can’t isolate any actual suggestions. When I am scrolling through my feed, my attention span is short. I want clear, easy-to-read text, and these dense #FF’s don’t filter.
It makes me feel unwanted pressure.
I believe it is proper etiquette to retweet the tweet of someone who #FF you. I don’t want to do that, really, ever. But I feel forced too, especially if it is somehow work-related. Rarely I feel flattered by the other names I am grouped with, by the person who tweeted it, or by the occasional complimentary description of the grouping. But yeah,it’s felt nice maybe twice. I feel like I have to fake feeling flattered, and thus retweet.
Retweeting is at least a step up from having to say “thank you” with the @’s at everyone who #FFed you.
Also it is weird to directly thank people who #FF you, that you might sort of know, but don’t want to follow back. It’s even weirder when people #FF people they don’t actually follow.
It doesn’t even actually produce positive results.
I really question how polite I am actually being when I feel like my retweet is just annoying in other people’s streams while also cutting up the ‘rhythm’ in my feed. Its appearance turns me off to the point when it’s completely meaningless. I can’t remember the last person I followed from a #FF.
But it’s OK if:
- You’re new. You have to let people know you exist.
- You’re making a #FF joke.
- You genuinely have a specific person that people who follow you will want to follow.
- You absolutely must for a work/personal relationship.
What to do instead of #FFing someone:
Retweet one of their quality tweets. Preferably ‘with a comment.’ Proof beats hearsay any day.