Do You know how #FollowFriday started?

    May 30, 2009

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.