What’s wrong with #FollowFriday?

#FollowFriday is great in theory, but often turns out badly in practice, so I have a hard time recommending it…although it works well for some people.

First, here’s what you should do instead: Ask for and give personal recommendations (Example 1 Example 2). Also see 10 seconds a week to find great Twitter users

What most people talk about is that it clutters up streams, making it hard to view tweets. Of course, there are tools and apps that you can use to filter most of them out, but it’s a hassle.

But what I find bad about #ff or #FollowFriday hashtags is that the recommendations are too often low quality. Why is that?

  1. Since they’re public, people can be afraid NOT to recommend some people for fear of repercussion, e.g “You recommended them but not me?! How could you do that?!”
  2. People also use them simply to trade promotional favors, as in “You recommend me and I’ll recommend you.”
  3. People try to insinuate themselves with influential users by recommending them. It’s fine if it’s a sincere recommendation, but often it’s just a way of trying to get the attention of a more powerful user.
  4. Since they’re public, it’s hard to draw the line over time. Do you recommend your top 10 favorites? Top 11? Top 12?
  5. They’re often not targeted, insufficient reason given for favoring. Who cares if someone like person A—what you want to know is what makes person A good for you to connect with.
  6. Many people use them primarily to promote people who are active and follow back. Just looking for users that follow back is a poor use of Twitter.

The Oatmeal sums up the #FF impressions of many people:

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