I mentioned on Tuesday in response to Twitter’s new changes that it could be impossible for anyone to see your suggestions on #followfriday if you started your Tweets with an “@”. Based on your responses, my assumption was part right, and part wrong. #followfriday is not going away (as long as Twitter users don’t want it to). You’re just going to have to do it a little differently, and perhaps that’s a good thing.
My point of Tuesday’s post about the changes was to point out Twitter’s attitude and seeming desire to make us use Twitter the way they (the founders and employees of Twitter) use it, rather than the way we like, and how that could affect the very democratically created tradition of #followfriday from week to week. I was amazed at your response! I believe this blog had a new record, currently standing at 101 comments on a single post, all of you sharing your opinions, sharing advice on how it could work, and what you thought of Twitter’s new decision. Twitter has since clarified the Kerfuffle (say that 5 times fast, and why won’t Safari count that as a real word?) in finally a manner that they should have done in the first place. While I would still like some more promise on how they’re going to warn developers of such changes in the future (since we were affected by this as well), I think they’re at least starting to approach this in the right manner.
So, let’s talk #followfriday. It can still work. It just needs to be done differently to work. Lately, while I appreciate all your suggestions and recommendations, I’m noticing a trend which I think these new changes by Twitter actually put an end to. That’s the trend of listing just a whole bunch of Twitter screen names, followed by the hashtag, “#followfriday”, and nothing else. You’ve just recommended me to all your friends, along with about 10 others, and no reason why they should follow you. Do you think anyone pays attention to that? And if they do, will they remember the people you have just recommended? It turns out that with the new Twitter changes those can’t work anyway, because they begin with an “@” sign.
Let’s start a new tradition. I suggest selecting no more than 2 individuals every Friday. They should technically be individuals on more than one service – that can be Twitter and FriendFeed, or Twitter and Facebook, or maybe even Twitter and LinkedIn or whatever other 2 services you want to think of. You should come up with a 140 character version of your tweet, 140 characters for each individual explaining why your followers should follow each of those individuals in as much detail as possible and then post it to a microblogging service (like Twitter) somewhere. Then, on a service that allows more than 140 characters, maybe even your blog, share much more about that individual. Explain what they do, how they got there, what makes them interesting, and better yet, include a picture!
I noticed this last week as my friend, Mari Smith, shared her #followfriday entry on Facebook. She included the name of the individual, a very detailed description of why she was suggesting we become friends with the individual, and she even included a picture! Mari then continued to endorse this individual in the comments.
I think this is a trend we should all continue. Again, your Tweets can’t start with “@” – sure some can in certain instances, but let’s just not confuse ourselves here. Either start your Tweet with #followfriday and a description with the screen name of the individual, or just start your description and include their screen name some where that makes sense. What’s important is that there is detail about the individual. It’s time we start some real dialog here. Let’s build real relationships and do it in style. Make your #followfridays count by doing fewer, but with more substance. Perhaps you could even start in the comments of this post!