3 Ways to #Follow Better Than #ff

In the last couple of months I’ve been waging a spirited attack on the Twitter institution of Follow Friday, #ff for short. If you follow me, you’ve probably noticed.

But here is my pain: the spirit behind Follow Friday is nothing if not pure and good. If you know me at all, you know I’ve dedicated my life to propagating good karma as best I possibly can! So… what’s my beef with this custom? I think anyone has the right to ask, and it’s on me to prove my case – which I try to do on the post that started it all.

Follow Friday was established years ago for experienced users to help newcomers out: “New to Twitter? If you follow these folks, your experience will be much better, much faster. Enjoy!” When done well, it’s also a really great way to tell those you enjoy and admire, “I think enough of you to recommend you to my network.”

When done well. The problem is tweets like this, which are completely meaningless, though I’m sure well-intended (so I left out the sender’s name/avatar):

#ff @DouroCasino @NooDelegansa @kylejnorton @pollardsmill @Bestevillas @LDCaribbean @weddingmarket @AS_photographyy @Craighross

This type of list doesn’t give you a reason to follow any of these people! What’s more, with Twitter so well-established by now, everyone’s doing this, a lot, and so these meaningless lists are clogging up the Friday tweet-stream like plaque in a bacon-lover’s arteries.

There’s a better way – several, in fact. As someone who has no respect for critics and pot-shot-takers, it’s against my nature to just tell you what not to do without also recommending a preferable alternative. I apologize for the delay. Here are some great ways to #Follow right.

1. Six days a week – but not Fridays, please! – recommend one person at a time, with a heartfelt reason, using #Follow rather than #ff.

Here’s an example of a good #follow recommendation, from one of my favorite people on Twitter, Steve Keating. As you can see for yourself, it’s thoughtful. (Please note that I tweaked it to remove #ff. I don’t think Steve will mind).


@LeadToday: When you follow @KateNasser you receive daily insights that helps you improve yourself. #Follow this leader today!

Isn’t that far better than a stupid list?

2. This next example is nearly the best ever, by Gini Dietrick (aka @spinsucks). Yes, each week she writes a blog post featuring one person and explaining at length why you should follow them.

Did I say nearly the best? Yes indeed, and here’s why.

3. My fairly new friend Chuck Kent (aka @creative on call ) truly takes the cake when it comes to rocking the alternatives to stale and plaque-y old #ff.

Now, I know this last one seems like a lot of pressure. “A song, Ted?” you may be thinking.

Have you ever heard me sing?

And as for writing lyrics…

That’s just not my thing!

No worries at all. Seriously. Just one thoughtful tweet, like Steve’s, about one person each week is above and beyond the call of duty. If you’re up for more than one, you’re a superstar in my eyes – probably the eyes of your followers as well.

So what then if you are indeed new to Twitter, and you want to know who I recommend you follow? Let me start by saying that I’ve met so many fascinating people, formed so many abiding friendships along the way, that I almost don’t know where to begin.

Almost. Where I would begin, if I were you, is on my (or anyone else’s) Twitter lists. I have several, including this one for ExchangeGain’s League of Extraordinary Thinkers. That is where I’d start if I were looking for a follow recommendation that would instantly improve the quality of my online experience.

Collect fascinating people. That has been my passion for most of my life. In my experience, that is the most beneficial aspect of this new Social Age we’ve entered. And of all the media out there, by far the highest-yield for me has been Twitter. If you’re a veteran tweeter, you know what I mean. If you’re still a novice… well, stick around is all I can say. I promise, you’ll agree with us vets soon enough!

Now go forth to #Follow and recommend! ;)

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Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo

Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in 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, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”

  • Maria Garcia

    Ted Coine is just absolutely fantastic! He is one that I would love to meet in person some day, his personality, makes all of his interviews, charged with energy, passion absolutely interesting, engaging and of course very informative. A world gone social, can’t wait to read his book! Yes he definitely one that must be followed
    thanks Ted for your contributions!
    Maria Garcia

  • Chuck Kent

    Thanks for the kind shout out. Gini Dietrich is actually the one who, in her own way, inspired me to try #SocialSong Saturday, and was featured in the very first edition (and I’ve been lucky enough to be featured in her #FollowFriday post). I like your notion of the one-a-day-but-have-something-meaningful-to-say plan… simple, not terribly time consuming, but valuable. Thanks again! See you on Saturday (or, as I like to say each weekend, “#FF is so…. yesterday”)

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    Ted! Thank you so much for this! I’m with you…I got SO TIRED of the lists of Twitter handles that I had to do something else. And, truth be told, the #FF blog post is the easiest one I write all week!

  • http://ilovedevelopment.blogspot.com/ Luke Baughan

    Great follow up Ted! Buffered and shared all over the place ;o)

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  • http://www.savvycapitalist.blogspot.com TedCoine

    Maria, you’re the best ever! I’m blushing. Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope we get to meet in person some day, too – maybe at a conference, who knows?

  • http://www.savvycapitalist.blogspot.com TedCoine

    Chuck, “#FF is so… yesterday” is without question the most ingenious notion of all your great ideas. I love it!

    Thanks again for singing about me a while back. I still make my kids watch it every Saturday before we start cartoons.

  • Chuck Kent

    You are definitely songworthy… and don’t let your kids forget it.

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    You make your kids watch it every Saturday? Even if that’s not true, it’s hilarious!

  • There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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