Overlisting people for Follow Friday and its many genre-specific siblings on other days of the week has polluted Twitter–too often, you click on a profile and see nothing but undifferentiated lists of people to follow. This does no good for the people making the lists, and hardly any good for those mentioned.
But naming people to follow is still a useful thing when done right. I’ve added many followers by checking out some of these folks and following them. Typically, each week, I’ll pick one person’s list that mentions me, and visit the other people mentioned.
There are, of course, many ways do “do it right.” Here’s what works for me, personally; your solution may look different.
When I do my #ff (and my eco-Monday), I list several in one tweet with a couple of keywords, such as “humor” or “green marketing.” With hundreds of people on my list to spotlight for Follow Friday or Eco-Monday, I keep a document in my email program that groups them by category in batches of 140 characters or less and also lists the dates I mentioned them. Here’s an example:
[1/8/10, 7/11/11] Green-3 @billmckibben @zerofootprint @greenbucket @Greenopia @gosner @greenmarketing @MarcalSmallStep @greenforyou
So in this case, this is the third batch of green contacts (out of 36 so far–yeah, I need to make an official Twitter list), which I posted in January 2010 and repeated in July 2011. All I have to do is scoop up the part after the dates and pop it into Twitter, then add the next date in the brackets. 114 characters, eight people recommended, and I’m done until the next time. If it’s an Eco-Monday post, I won’t label them “green,” because it’s obvious. On Follow Fridays, I try to always give some clue abut why I follow these folks.
But here’s the thing–I do *one* #ff tweet and one #ecomonday tweet per week, and I post plenty of other useful content during Fridays and Mondays.
Then I come back and say thank you to anyone who has #FFd me (or retweeted, mentioned my book, etc.)–but I do it as Thanks for the #ff, and that way it’s clear that I’m saying thank you and not necessarily endorsing them.
I skip pages that are nothing but long lists of people to follow. BORING! They’ve lost their chance for me to follow them back if that’s all I see when I visit.
Yes, this does annoy a few people who like to be on my list every week. There’s at least one prominent marketer who used to #FF me each week, but I only #FFd back once in a while. She stopped. But at the moment, I have 583 people on my #FF list, and that number is always growing; I’d be foolish to post them all at once every week. It’s not about ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine,’ but about another way I can be a useful resource for my own followers while keeping a Twitter profile that people actually want to read. And event hough she hasn’t listed me in a year or so, that marketer still shows up on my list every once in a while.