Is #FF Follow Friday SO 2009?

I have noticed a decline in #FF and #MarketerMonday activity among my online friends. Have the Friday and Monday call-outs become passe? Am I one of the last to figure it out? I started asking for the reasons for lower activity and received a variety of responses.

Some indicated that #FF and #MarketerMonday are simply flawed ideas. @MarkWSchaefer said that #FFs hurt the feelings of those not included; @MGranovsky said that it hurt the feelings of some that assumed reciprocity – if you just don’t participate no opinions are hurt. Several others mentioned that #FF and #MarketerMonday have become just a Spam-like strategy to add followers, as people you don’t know and aren’t even following you mention you hoping for a follow.

I surveyed friends that I regularly #FF and they indicated that the number of new follows have declined. @MGranovsky ran a mini-experiment that showed little impact from #FFs. A number of people that I have #FF-ed for years indicated that they used to see 3-4 new follows and now don’t feel that there is any impact.

I had an interesting three-way discussion with @FHuszar (who always has keen insights) and @sinanaral about when #FFs might work and how it might be tested. Some largely anecdotal propositions about #FF effectiveness follow.

Propositions about the effectiveness of #FF mentions.

#FFs are more effective:

  1. The more credibility (influence?) the recommend-er enjoys
  2. The first few times a user mentions a given tweeter.
  3. Among those included in a #FF grouping. [They show up in mentions and each has a halo effect from being included in the set with the others…]

#2 and #3 (hopefully not #1) would explain the waning effect of my mentions since I have tended to mention many of the same people in the same groupings?

Any more thoughts on this phenomenon???



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6 Responses to Is #FF Follow Friday SO 2009?

  1. My 2 cents. Agree, but…Still wonderful for expanding networks and finding the like-minded

  2. solutions123 says:

    never even heard of marketer monday

  3. I think of #FF and #MarketerMonday and similar hashtags as forms of endorsements, not unlike linkedIn endorsements or +K’s by Klout. It’s also a little bit like, but for distributing social capital not real capital. If you #FF someone, it means (or should mean) that the person or account is worth following. As with any other endorsement system, there are two problems I normally consider:

    Gameability and incentive compatibility: Is the endorsement mechanism designed carefully so that it is my best rational interest to only #FF accounts that I truly believe are worth following. As mentioned in this post, some people may abuse #FF as a strategy hoping to generate more followers, or hoping they will be #FF’d back. The same problem exists with other public endorsement systems. People endorse others on linkedIn, hoping they will get endorsed back. This dilutes the value of endorsements there. I was hoping linkedIn will introduce something clever to stop that process, but so far they haven’t. I wrote in detail about linkedin endorsements in my answer to this Quora question:

    Interpretation and analysis: How should we interpret #FF data? What is the most actionable form of all the #FF recommendations out there. I assume that the grand goal of #FF is to make it easier for people to discover interesting accounts to follow on twitter. But without some analytics or friendly interface that helps me make sense of the data, it is very hard for me as a user to do that. Just looking at all #FF tweets in my twitter stream is too raw and cognitively demanding to make sense of. It’s a tiresome process to actually check all those accounts out. I would like a tool that makes me explicit recommendations based on all those #FF endorsements as to who I may like to follow. used to keep track of #FF recommendations and display a ranked list of users who received the most during the week. (The website was for sale a couple months ago) I think there’s a lot more in the data that could be mined for meaningful patterns, so as to make personalised recommendations to users about accounts they should follow.

  4. While I’m sure there are people who try to game the system, I don’t, and I don’t believe the good people who generally #FF or #MM me do so either, so I really don’t worry about that. I have noticed a bit of a decline in usage, but I think it’s a nice gesture, so I’ll continue to use these. As for results, my following tends to grow at fairly steady pace month after month, regardless of #FF and #MM activity. I think they help somewhat but not as much as just trying to be engaging and sharing useful content does.

  5. I agree with @fhsuszar – they serve as endorsements. I see an #FF as a way of saying “I appreciate these people. You may too.” They certainly do work as networking tools and it does come down to intent. I believe that, like @TomPick, there are those who try to use #FF for “selfish reasons” or try to game the system with simply the aim of getting more followers in mind. But I also believe you have to give to get, and that the aim should always be on social media to help others and provide useful resources and information to others. That is what builds networks. Being genuine, helpful, and a resource to others will pay back in dividends in time. Great post. Great thoughts!

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