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Do You know how #FollowFriday started?

The history of the Twitter hashtag trend

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[ Social Media]

Today is Friday, the most famed day of the week. Why you ask? It’s the end of the workweek and the beginning of the weekend (for some). But, for the Twitterverse, it’s a day where you could see your follower count substantially climb as a result of a grassroots hashtag simply called #followfriday.

Sure, Follow Friday has been around for a few months (a little over four) but do you really know anything about it? Who started it? How it got started? Why does it work?

What are your feelings on #Follow Friday?
Do you participate or do you despise it? Let us know

Well, Follow Friday was born in a dirt-floored log cabin in the hills of Tennessee… wait that isn’t right. Let’s try that again. Follow Friday began with one simple tweet back in January ’09 from Micah Baldwin, it simply said:

First #FollowFriday Tweet

Its intent was simple, recommend people you follow to people who follow you. That’s it, pretty cut and dry isn’t it?

You may notice that the original Follow Friday tweet is missing something, a very key element. That’s right, the first Follow Friday tweet didn’t feature the famed hashtag. Mykl Roventine suggested this a short time later.

Mykl Roventine suggesting the hashtag

Micah Baldwin recounts his first day of Follow Friday on his site

I sent direct messages to a few of my friends: Chris Brogan, Erin Kotecki Vest, Aaron Brazell, Jim Kukral and Andrew Hyde (who decided to not participate, calling it a “spammer lovefest”) asking them to retweet a simple message “Follow Fridays – suggest someone to follow / everyone follow / use the hashtag #followfriday”

And, then I headed into the office and my first meeting of the day.

When I got back to my office, and finally fired up my machine, #followfriday tweets were flying all over twitter. It was wild.

Near the end of the day, almost every half second, a tweet went out with the hashtag #followfriday.
 

#FollowFriday trends over the last five months

You might be asking yourself, why does Follow Friday work? Well, the main thing that helps make Follow Friday a success is… it’s easy. It takes very little effort to type out a few friends Twitter handles and slap a #followfriday hashtag on it.

But, probably the main reason it works is, people want followers. It’s about ROI (you invest time suggesting someone, they’ll invest their time suggesting you)… thus completing the Follow Friday circle of life.

Sure, Follow Friday is trendy now… but six months from now it could be just another Internet fad causality. It’s hard to say for sure, but with Twitter growing by the minute and users wanting to increase their follower count, I’d say you could expect to see #FollowFriday stick around awhile.

Do You know how #FollowFriday started?
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  • Guest

    I didn’t realize that #ff was so new, just been around since Jan.

  • Guest

    is it just me, or does it not look like follow friday is losing some steam based off that graph?

    • Jeremy Muncy

      That’s the first thing I noticed when I saw the graph… but I do think it’s a bit to early to say for sure… it’s a very interesting trend to keep an eye on though.


      Jeremy Muncy

  • Swann

    On my point of view, the #followfriday tags work also because of the sense of community which is created. You have even more the feeling you’re part of a cool community : the “followfridayers”. ;)

  • Guest

    To me follow friday is one of the more annoying things happening on twitter, but you can’t deny the overall appeal of it.

  • http://www.greeneurope.org/ Samantha

    I think that strategy already reached its peak. As I can see, there’s a huge decline in this activity. Anyways, this can be helpful in Twitter Community. No doubt about it.

  • http://www.holisticinternetmarketing.com areisdesigns

    So it is still Friday where I am, and I haven’t done a Follow Friday Tweat Yet. I think I will go ahead and take the plunge and try it.

    • Guest

      oh crap, yeah me too. forgot about follow friday. thanks wpn.

  • http://www.flakemedia.com Kevin Carey

    Great idea for a recurring post – the history of a meme. How did all these things get started? Who posted the first LOLCat, etc. I would find that series very interesting.

    • Jeremy Muncy

      Interesting idea. I was thinking along the same lines.

      Telling the history of certain Internet trends would be a neat series of articles. We’ll see if we can make that happen.

      Stay tuned.


      Jeremy Muncy

    • Guest Judith Patterson

      I like the suggestion by Kevin Carey that this be a series so Twitters can get a sound history of this ever evolving Twitterville. I find #FollowFriday a bit to compulsive without much thought. I personally would like to see a #FollowFriday reference to one (maybe two people) but the real gem would be the note that accompanies it where the person says why they are thrilled to have found that person/company to follow. I think the person referring and how they think and feel is as interesting and important as the person/product that you are being referred to (and gives a lot of important information). This gets rid of the “you scratch my back and I scratch your back” and one’s precious time is not lost opening and reading stuff you are not interested in (thus leaving a negative feeling for that person/product). I truly like to forage for my own people and products to follow and NOT be part of the pack.

  • Mark

    #followfriday is just another example of social media masturbation.

    • Guest

      best comment ever.

  • http://www.twitter.com/davezatz DaveZatz

    But WHY do people want more followers?

    • Jeremy Muncy

      The more followers you have, the more people who see your tweet… and loads of people market their business / services through Twitter.


      Jeremy Muncy

      • http://www.twitter.com/davezatz DaveZatz

        Maybe I still don’t get it. Perhaps my followers do. ;)

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    I’m mainly on Twitter to socially market my safety and security web site and raise awareness for its products so this sounds like a really cool idea. I don’t know if it will work but I think I’ll give it a try.

    • Jeremy Muncy

      The best part about #FollowFriday is it takes little effort… give it a shot next week.


      Jeremy Muncy

  • http://www.foleyinternetmarketing.com Dan Foley

    I was a later comer with #FollowFriday but once I started it a couple of months ago, I came to enjoy suggesting people for others to follow. It is part of the spirit of social networking.

  • Robyn

    I was curious as to what #Follow Friday was. Thanks for the article

    I have meet alot of interesting people on twitter, #FF would be a tool to let followers know how much value others offer in their communications.

    might give it a go for fun. : )

  • http://makemoneyeasyhome.blogspot.com/ Ricky

    its such a good idea.how did you find the source of followfriday ?

    • Jeremy Muncy

      Hello Ricky,

      I had been curious about the origin of #FollowFriday for a little while… so I decided to do some research on it, used various blogs, Google and even Twitter.

      I found it pretty interesting… so I decided to write this article on it.

      Glad you enjoyed it.


      Jeremy Muncy

  • http://melaniekissell.com Melanie Kissell

    Jeremy,

    In addition to my online endeavors, I also have two part time jobs outside the home. So … Friday is (and always has been) my favorite day of the week – for all the obvious reasons. :-) I look forward to participating in the #followfriday campaigns, BUT …

    I’ve noticed that my approach is usually quite different than a lot of people. I don’t just “list” a pile of people that I think would be great to follow. Between you, me, and the lamp post, I hate to see that practice. Know what I mean? Someone will just post: “Please follow so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so”, etc. My question is … What’s my INCENTIVE to do so??! Quite frankly, there is none. And, if the motive is to just rack up some numbers, count me out.

    I’m a “sense and sensibility” kind of gal. I limit the number of followers I endorse to less than a dozen each Friday. Most importantly, I recommend each person INDIVIDUALLY and I make a habit of giving a specific reason “WHY” I feel they are worthwhile to follow. Here’s an example …

    You’re good at what you do, but you may not be good at getting customers. Follow @wendymaynard – The Marketing Maven #followfriday

    Enjoyed this article, Jeremy, and looking forward to reading more from you,

    MELANIE

    • Jeremy Muncy

      MELANIE,

      Thanks for the kind words about my article, and I appreciate your insight into your #FollowFriday techniques.

      I like your approach about limiting the number of people you endorse and how you explain the reason why users should follow them.

      Thanks for reading.


      Jeremy Muncy

      • http://melanie-writeon.blogspot.com Melanie Kissell

        I’m impressed, Jeremy …

        The fact that you replied to my remarks indicates that you are a true professional, one that has earned my respect. I will be looking out for future content from you.

        Write On!

  • http://www.DavidBatchelor.visit.ws David

    I was wonderong what #Follow Friday was. Thanks for the article

    Twitter is growing really fast as I am sure you have noticed.

    David Batchelor
    LifePath Unlimited

    • Jeremy Muncy

      Glad you enjoyed the article.

      Twitter has grown exponentially over the first half of the year.


      Jeremy Muncy

  • http://www.tyrkietfan.dk/Partnere/Nazar.aspx Nazar

    I have not heard about the concept – but I think it is great.

  • http://getstimulustoday.com Matches Malone

    Or, did you? :)

  • @euonymous

    Thanks for writing that up. Nice little piece of Twitter history. Without knowing anything about #followfriday I remember that when I started to see the hashtag it was immediately obvious what was going on. That’s another reason it was successful. Nobody had to explain it to anyone. KISS… it works.

    • Jeremy Muncy

      I’m glad you liked the article.

      …and yes “K.I.S.S.” does work.


      Jeremy Muncy

  • http://hotreels.blogspot.com @hotreel

    Thanks for this tutorial.
    It caused me to stop and think about how we can use Twitter in an innovative way.

    Not seeing anything similar, I then went over and started the hashtag: #celebritywatch

    It calls for people to add their favorites to the list.

    Your post here was absolutely the source of inspiration.
    Thanks!

  • http://davlinswoods.com Melani

    I may have to ‘unfollow’ a few people who just don’t get #ff. They load up multiple tweets with almost every person they follow, with no reasons for any of them. I find that disgusting and it really turns me off.

    Having said that, this article does reinvigorate me about the original reason for #ff. I agree that it’s purpose was instantly recognizable and I love the beautiful simplicity of it. What’s more, I get unexpected ‘thank-you’s’ from people I put in a #ff tweet, so it feels good, too!

  • http://www.doghouseplans.net/ dog house plans

    #followfriday is very helpful in Twitter Community. Number of twitter users is growing so fast as expected.

  • http://ecash10.com Ecash10

    I simple, unintentional thing sometimes explodes to greater goodness

  • http://patvb.com Pat Vanden Bosche

    Someone sent me a #followfriday last week, and I didn’t know what it was. Until I read your article here. It’s amazing how quickly you can get so much further behind in trends and not even know it, just when you thought you were catching up… but now I know… and knowing is half the battle! LOL Now I will know what to do on Friday!

    Pat

  • http://www.hirewithease.com just me

    Are you defiantly or definitely going to participate! We only want your joyful participation! :)

  • Guest

    It’s totally pointless and offers no benefit. It’s a total waste of time.

    • Joe

      Pointless? Let’s see, you follow someone because you like how they think, have things in common with you and respect their viewpoints. Then they tweet names of other people who are like minded. You then get to follow more people who think like you, express new ideas you can use, make you smile, and point to links that you find useful. Yeah, you’re right, complete waste of time. I think I’ll just spend hours using Twitter’s search function. That’s a much better use of my time.

  • http://www.debtfree4ever.net Prince of Thrift

    I have seen my name in a number of followfriday comments, but it has not resulted in the large influx of followers. I have been active on Twitter a few months now, but have no where near the my target of a minimum of 1000 (good) followers.

  • http://www.conservapedia.com Jay_pe

    Any story behind why Twitter includes Follow Friday in the Trending topics and don’t include hash tag? BTW, i am pushing the limits on #Followfriday ever since I joined. I now send out close to 60 tweets 140 characters worth of follows every Friday. Wondering when Twitter limitations kick in.

  • cd

    followfriday is only a waste of time if people are just doing endless lists. i don’t look at them.

    when i do them i do an individual post for each one and say why i follow them. that way i think people actually read them and might be interested in following.

    all but about 10 of my followers i’ve got through followfriday, so i think it’s an integral part of twitter!

  • Guest

    That, lead to this:

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2763/4503056433_5ecef5f586_b.jpg

    (twitter graffiti)

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