Follow Friday is a recommendation day for the microblogging service Twitter, which takes place every Friday. Using the Hashtags #ff or #FollowFriday, particularly interesting profiles can be recommended to other Twitter users. These are called tweeps. The tweets of such profiles are usually the deciding factor for a recommendation. Any people, organizations, or companies that are suggested to the community will often get more followers. This practice creates a wider reach for the tweets of these profiles, which is why FollowFriday is increasingly used for marketing purposes, but is aimed particularly at new Twitter users with few followers.
Micah Baldwin originated the idea for Follow Friday by sending the following tweet on January 16, 2009:
Shortly thereafter, Mykl Roventime recommended the hashtag #followfriday, which was later also used in the short form #ff. Some followers of Baldwin and Roventime helped to increase the popularity of the new Twitter event. Within a short time, it became an international trend, with thousands of Twitter users advocating interesting Twitter profiles to their followers. Similar to retweet, Follow Friday is a feature created by Twitter users. This is one reason why the phenomenon has become a trend in a very short time.
Any Twitter user can participate in Follow Friday by using the appropriate hashtag and integrating the profiles that he or she wishes to create with an @ sign. As a rule, only one to three profiles are mentioned, so that the follow-up recommendations have a personal touch. There are two versions with an almost identical syntax:
#FollowFriday @google @bing @Yahoo
#ff @google @bing @Yahoo
By means of the hashtag, all relevant tweets are referenced with the keywords FollowFriday or ff. The @ sign before the Twitter profile is used to set a direct link to the respective profile. The followers of the sender can thus visit the recommended profile with one click and decide whether to follow this profile. A short text can be added to explain why the profiles are interesting. The most effective recommendations are those that focus on one profile and describe it in a few words. It is important to have the correct syntax and the correct spelling of the profile name. Otherwise, the tweet will not be listed in the hashtag Twitter search and the links to the respective profiles will be ineffective.
If you want your recommendation to be authentic, it needs to be based on a sound opinion. It is important to ensure that the profiles being linked are factually recommendable. If this is not the case, Twitter users will not pay any attention to the recommendation and the tweet will get lost in the stream of numerous tweets. The latter is often the case when products with a low informative value for Twitter users are recommended.
Follow Friday has long since ceased to be determined according to the American timeframe. Internationally, the times for such tweets have moved forward and backward, depending on the timeframe of the Twitter profile that is participating in Follow Friday. Accordingly, in some countries, tweets with the Hashtags FollowFriday and ff are already being sent on Thursdays. The same applies to the following weekends. Some Twitter users also use the hashtag #ff on normal weekdays and thus counteract the original intention behind it.
Since Follow Friday is now a trend, there are several websites and Twitter tools that provide surveys and rankings. Partially, the data is incorporated into social media tools to provide information about the most common recommendations along with other metrics. Whether this data is accurate depends on various factors. For example, how the current Twitter API is integrated and whether Twitter provides such information in the required format at all.
Follow Friday is a development based on the idea of crowdsourcing and on the other hand uses classic marketing approaches. Because a lot of Twitter users use the corresponding hashtags, the crowd becomes a distribution medium of recommendations. At the same time, recommendations are passed on according to the word-of-mouth principle, which is why most Twitter users prefer personal follow-Friday tweets. The special aspect of this development, however, is certainly the viral effect, which is characterized by the sometimes high reach of individual recommendations. If there are influencers among the recipients, this viral effect can be even more effective.
However, Follow Friday and/or its development is often criticized because many Twitter users recommend hundreds of profiles over the course of time and that often includes company profiles, which are mostly about marketing and not about authentic recommendations. Critics say that the sheer volume of Follow Friday tweets undermines the goal of the original practice because hardly anyone reads all these tweets or follows the recommended profiles. The extent to which Follow Friday is useful for increasing reach is therefore also dependent on how the hashtags #ff and #followfriday are used in tweets.