Do you toss and turn every Thursday night, unable to get more than a fitful sleep, and wake up in a cold sweat every Friday? If so, you’re deep in the first stage of #followfriday. We’ve all been there. I sure was, for close to two years. I feel for you. We all do. It’s a tough place to dwell.

You know how it goes. When you’re brand-new to Twitter, you’re probably blissfully oblivious to #ff for a couple of weeks. You might see other people doing it, but no one does it to you, so you’re good. Then, at some point, maybe when you have 50 followers or so, someone does it to you. You know, something like this:

Happy #ff @WarrenBuffett @JoeSchmoe @PhilMcCrackin @YourNameHere

“Me!??” You think, all excited. “Somebody did that #ff thing to me! I wonder what it is!” So you Google it, or ask a friend, or if you’re much smarter than me you figure it out for yourself, and now you’re in: people recommend their followers to start to follow you, so you return the favor, and you say thank you to the ones who list you, and…

…And before too much time has passed, your entire Friday is FULL of yet one more thing to do: Your job, as always. And now this #followfriday thing.

“Somebody did that #ff thing to me! I wonder what it is!”

Twitter is a blast 6 days a week. On Fridays, it’s a chore. A really stressful chore, because if you don’t keep up, you’re afraid you’re going to insult your new fans and they’ll scorn you.

This goes on for a year or two. Fridays on Twitter kinda suck. There’s no room for conversation, because everyone’s tweet stream is chock-full of huge, meaningless lists of #ff followed by twitter handles. You can’t find a good article, YouTube video of a talking dog, or interesting blog post – nothing!

There’s no room for conversation

So finally one day, you opt out. You just stop doing #ff altogether. You’re in stage 2 of #followfriday.

You feel really guilty. You’re consumed by guilt, as a matter of fact – which again ruins your Fridays, although for a different reason.

And then, one day, the guilt is gone. Ahhh…that’s nice.

But you’re resentful. You want your Twitter back, but it’s so clogged with this #ff crap that, as before, you can’t find any real conversations going on. Indeed, some of your best Twitter buddies aren’t even active on Fridays, you notice (yup, they’ve gotten frustrated with the #ff plague in their tweet-streams, too.) Even your own @mention column on Tweetdeck or Hootsuite is so full of these meaningless lists of twitter handles (people with nothing in common to recommend in the same #ff message, you notice) you miss when people are actually trying to reach you.

Even your own @mention column on Tweetdeck or Hootsuite is so full of these meaningless lists of twitter handles

Now, you’re deeply into the third stage of #followfriday, the (mildly) annoyed stage.

Then, finally one day, you decide to do a study, using your own account as the test subject. You count your new followers every day of the week, and see if there’s anything different with Fridays. You observe week after week for two years solid:

  1. Does #ff work, and net you more followers than other days?
  2. Is it the same as other days (which would mean it’s pointless, except for point 4 below)?
  3. Do you actually get fewer followers on Fridays as on other days of the week?
  4. Or – here’s my big reason for being so addicted to Twitter – do you deepen relationships because of your #ff thank yous and recommendations? Or does nobody notice?

Folks, I’ve studied this for six years, using my own account as the test subject. Let me tell you with certainty: I gain significantly fewer followers on Fridays than the average. And, now that I abstain from it, no one seems to miss my participation. Relationships are unaffected. So not only is #ff ineffective: it actually obstructs the natural ebb and flow of Twitter. That is why I say, finally, emphatically:

Please, let’s kill #followfriday dead, starting right now.

It just gums things up on Twitter. It interrupts normal, interesting conversation without adding anything of value. You know what else? I hate #ff as a blogger, too, because people don’t find good posts recommended by their friends on Fridays, either.

I hate #ff as a blogger

Another time, I’ll show you how a couple – really, only a couple – of people who really do a classy and, I think, effective job with their #ff recommendations. My esteemed friend Steve Keating (@leadtoday) is one that really stands out.

But in the meantime, if you want to know who I recommend you #follow, check out my Twitter list called “The Circle” (https://twitter.com/tedcoine/lists/the-circle) Those are many of my favorites. I recommend you follow them every day, not just Friday.

Image credit: aleksander1 / 123RF Stock Photo

This post first appeared on Switch & Shift.

About Ted Coiné

Ted Coiné is CEO of The Extraordinary Network, a group that is rewriting all the rules of influencer marketing by cutting out agency middlemen to work directly with B2B and luxury brands. Proud “bleeding heart capitalists,” he and his team have built support of a great cause into every for-profit campaign they undertake.

His entire career, Ted has collected fascinating people, most notably other thought leaders who also have a large and loyal audience of large enterprise leaders. He has watched the Wild West that is influencer marketing until he realized an opportunity to fix this broken system, and give influencers the sway they need to move markets together, and to get paid what they’re deserved for this power they bring to bear.

An Inc. Top 100 Speaker and one of Business News Daily’s 15 Twitter Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow, Ranked #1 authority on the Social CEO and #3 in the Future of Work, Ted is also a serial business founder and CEO.

Ted is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership gave Ted a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.

He lives in Naples, Florida, with his wife and two daughters.


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