Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: #FollowFriday What is The Point?

Friday, February 4, 2011

#FollowFriday What is The Point?


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What is the point of #FollowFriday, does it just adds to the noise?


That was how I was greeted at the office this morning after I undressed myself from 10 layers of winter clothing, grabbed my coffee and headed back to my desk. I was a bit surprised because the person it was coming from has 37K tweets, some might consider that noise, but not me. I have about the same number of tweets. For the most part, I somewhat enjoy this person's tweets, I appreciate opinionated people (as I happen to be one myself). I was caught off guard when I received the message, but then I went back and read her stream, she was having a bad day. It happens to all of us, right?



Moving on. What is the point of #FollowFriday

People have unfollowed me because I tweet too much and I completely understand. Some are kind enough to say "You were cluttering my stream so I put you in a list instead." I consider that to be a polite approach and I appreciate that they let me know. You see, if you don't follow a lot of people, my tweets could easily fill your whole stream, and there is no fun in that. I, on the other hand, don't follow people who don't tweet enough. Unless I see that you tweet a minimum of 3+ times a day, I will not follow you. I usually tweet those people and let them know that I want them to tweet more. I follow over 3000 people and unless you are tweeting multiple times a day, I probably will not see your tweets, therefore I don't see a point in following.

We all have our own way to read and to use Twitter. For me, Twitter is an unruly information highway. Lots of congestion, lots of fun, lots of useful and useless information... and I wouldn't have it any other way. I hate spam, but I don't really get that much, and when I do, I ignore it and move on.

So what is the point of #FollowFriday? People use it to gain more followers, to say "Thank you", to reach out to their friends. Some people hate it, I think most are OK with it, I happen to like it. I once received a message from @atomicpoet saying something along the lines of "Please don't #FF me, I don't like it". Understandable. Many people feel obligated to reciprocate when they receive the compliment, I ONLY reciprocate when I mean it or when someone has put a strong effort into reaching out to me. That's work and I recognize that.

People with smaller numbers of followers will sometimes #FF others in an effort to gain more followers. I don't have a problem with this as I once had a small following and I wanted to grow my audience - so why should I be botherered by someone who wants to do the same? I am not at all bothered.

I receive #FF from many people, and even when I think they are done in a way that I don't perceive as authentic, when it comes to praise, I try not to look a gift horse in the mouth. I am shocked, flattered and humbled each and every day that people care enough about what I have to say and that they would pay attention to me for even one second. I love it and I am grateful and I am thrilled that even one person would care even a sliver about my words. #Truestory

How I use #FollowFriday. I try to use it sparingly. When I have a true compliment, when I want to help out a friend or when I want to group like-minded individuals. You may be able to see by the above screeen shot that I gave a #FF to @secndcitysoiree. It was an individual message and I actually wrote that earlier in the week when I was thinking about her. I scheduled the tweet as a #FF for @secndcitysoiree today (Friday). Why didn't I just say it on Tuesday? Because I think people look for it on Friday.

I have friends who ask me for #FF, they see I have many followers and I will often get a private request for a "shout out" or a #FF. If the person offers value in some way, I will gladly oblige. If they do not offer any value, I will simply say, "I am happy to do so when you've committed a bit more to your stream of information." Who am I to judge? Well, I am not judging, I just don't want to offer a recommendation for others to read something that I would not read myself. That's fair enough, right?

After the "individual message", favorite way to #FF people is by grouping them. I follow various groups of people: travel, fashion, luxury, Howard Stern fans, marketing and PR, Chicago local businesses, food, agencies, designers, entertainment, event marketers, bloggers, etc. You can see my Twitter lists for more information here. Not always, but when I think about it, I group people and say something along the lines of "Great travel tweeps" or something nerdy like that.

I read many of the #followfriday recommendations. I click on most profiles I am recommended with and read their bios. I am interested because I get many of my follow reccomendations from #FollowFriday. I find great, new people using #FollowFriday. I put thought into my recommendations and I hope others benefit from my recommendations.

In the end, here is what I say about Twitter and life in general. I have always subscribed to the theory, "Live and let live" and I practice it every aspect of my life. I want to prosper, I want to make friends, I want to love my family and friends, I want to be happy (I want to buy hot shoes) and I also want to make sure that everyone who touches my life, even in the smallest way, is able to do the same. It may sound like hog wash, but I can't be happy unless those around me are happy. (Maybe that's what makes me a liberal).

I have met fantastic, wonderful, amazing people from Twitter. Twitter has opened doors for me that no other medium has ever done so in the past. I have connected with smart, powerful, professional people that I could not have ever reached in any other way. I built a business out of nothing as a direct result of how I used Twitter. So why wouldn't I want somene else to be able to enjoy the same fruits that I've enjoyed? I would and I do. I do everything I can for people who ask for my help with absolutely no expectations in return. Ask my friends, nearly all 5500 on Twitter and 1500 on facebook, they'll mostly all tell you its true.

And, for the ones who don't like me, it happens. We can't win everyone over, and nor do I want to! I don't want to be a watered down version of myself and I thank Anna for not backing down from our Twitter exchange this morning. I am not here to save the world, or to tell anyone how they should behave, just here to tell some silly fart jokes mixed in with a bit information. Take it or leave it.


Now buy some stuff so I can make a few pennies...


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