Why I Don’t Want To Do #FollowFridays On Twitter Anymore
Follow Fridays on Twitter exhaust me.
Before I go any further, if you don’t know what “Follow Fridays” on Twitter is, here is a great explanation for the uninitiated: #FollowFriday: The Anatomy of a Twitter Trend
I really think it’s a great idea. A designated day to recommend people you follow to people who follow you. In concept, it’s a great way to share, encourage and help to enhance others’ Twitter experience. When I first started using Twitter and learned about #FollowFriday, I thought it was brilliant. Then the next Friday came around and I discovered that I could play a little numbers game to grow my own follower count. I got caught up in recommending people solely because I knew they would recommend me back. And that second week I gained over 150 new followers!
I was hooked. I thought I had found the mother lode! The Holy Grail of non-automated follower increase. The REAL Twitter Traffic Machine Secret.
But over the next week as I began to interact with others on Twitter, I realized that there were some great people who I really DID value and wanted to make sincere recommendations to show my appreciation to them and to share the treasures I had found with others.
Suddenly I had a problem. How could I stay true to the original intention of #FollowFriday while still taking advantage of the growth in followers that potentially can happen because of this weekly phenomenon?
And as I asked myself that question I realized I already knew the answer.
In everything that I do – personally, professionally, creatively – I strive for integrity. Unfortunately this isn’t going to make me rich and has cost me friends, clients and colleagues – I know, that’s sad. But in the end I believe honesty and integrity are my two most prized possessions.
So how did I get caught up in focusing on the quantity of my followers instead of the quality and value of the relationships and connections I was beginning to make via Twitter?
It’s easy to do. Especially for a competitive, obsessive, perfectionist like me.
But as this thought process unveiled the reality of my situation, I quickly ditched the desire for follower growth and returned to the original reason I began using Twitter in the first place: to meet and connect and learn and grow as a person, a designer, a freelance business person and a creative being.
One of the articles I read that helped me climb my way out of the depths of the Twitter follower growth trap was written by Khayyam Wakil (@iamkhayyam), a guy I have come to know through Twitter as a kindred spirit. You can read it here: #FollowFriday is dumb
I took Khayyam’s suggestion and began recommending individuals, using the #imjustfollowing hash tag and a personal explanation for each.
That’s when Follow Fridays became even more exhausting.
I currently follow over 2,000 people on Twitter and engage in conversation with a significant percentage of those people. Pretty much anyone else that wants to have any kind of personal contact, I am game. So how in the world am I supposed to keep track of all these great people I follow and recommend them each personally to the 3500+ that follow me?
Hopefully this long explanation has helped you understand the situation I have found myself in. Maybe you have found yourself in a similar predicament.
So as I’ve traveled around the internet I have begun to see a new trend in recommending people on Twitter. Here’s my plan:
Starting today and every Friday from here on out, I will post a compilation (not a list!) of the people on Twitter that I want to recommend to others. I will try to organize them with some general and/or specific descriptions that hopefully will help you determine if they are right for you to follow. I realize that I follow different people on Twitter for a number of different reasons and just because I follow someone doesn’t mean they will be the right “fit” for your Twitter experience. Each week I will add new people that come to mind in a new post and build a permanent reference list for anyone that wants to use it.
In the end, isn’t the result the same?
I hope you will find this helpful. I apologize to those that would rather have a Twitter-based recommendation, but I hope you will embrace the intent. Instead of a load of lists spewed out and adding to the #FollowFriday clutter, I will link to these posts and tweet about them on occasion. Also, if you are scanning the recommendations for yourself and end up disappointed, PLEASE don’t be offended. Most likely it just means yours will be a future Friday post. If it REALLY bothers you, shoot me an email and let me know. I know all too well how it feels to be left out of someone’s blog post when you thought for SURE you would be included. Unfortunately, this post is already a tad lengthy and to include ALL the wonderful people I’ve met on Twitter would be a ridiculously long affair.
So, without any further explanation, here is my first week of Twitter recommendations:
I hope this group of some of my personal Twitter favorites will prove helpful in your search for quality people to follow. Come back next Friday when I will share more of the treasures I have found on Twitter. Or just go through my profile and follow the 2000+ that I do. I don’t automatically follow back. Ever. I make an educated decision to follow someone after I go through their profile and website. So the people i follow are there for a very specific reason. And I promise you it’s not Twitter politics or an attempt to grow my follower count. I already learned that lesson.