The aim of FollowFriday is to share with the Twitter community which tweeps you enjoy following. Of course, it can help you find new people to follow too. One of the biggest benefits for those that participate is that they can pick up a good number of new followers.
When I was newer to Twitter myself, I used it primarily as a way to find interesting people. I find that most people recommended by others are conversational in nature. Now that I have a sizable follower base myself, I participate to help my followers out.
The game was started by @micah as a way to suggest just a person or two. Most of those who participate tend to recommend more than just one or two.
How does this work?
Hashtags are used on Twitter to enable others to search on specific topics. You simply add "#" before the word/term without a space.
#followfriday is specifically what should be used in tweets relating to FollowFriday.
Note: If you are using TweetDeck, one of the recent updates will automatically include hashtags used in a tweet if you hit reply on a tweet where a hashtag such as #followfriday is used. For web access and for other Twitter apps, you would need to enter it manually.
How to find others
There are 2 ways you can find others recommended with #followfriday:
1. In the Twitter search box type #followfriday - this will display all results across Twitter. You can also click on this link:
2. You can look at the tweets of those you already follow. I think this is a preferable route to go since you probably already have things in common with those you follow, so it's likelier that the recommendations will have at least something in common with you too.
How to recommend others
There are 2 common ways that Twitter users recommend others.
1. They will send a tweet recommending a single person. For example:
#followfriday @sharonhayes because she is really cool
Go ahead, copy and paste that into your tweet box ;)
2. They will send a tweet recommending a bunch of people at one time. For example:
#followfriday @sharonhayes @designmeme @andysowards @Minervity @styletime @iamkhayyam @unmarketing
Again, feel free to go ahead and copy & paste that into your tweet box ;)
Some tracking sites do count #ff and not just #followfriday but for the sake of helping others search on recommendations, it is a good idea to use the full #followfriday hashtag.
Notes: Try and remember to use the proper hashtag - #followfriday - since that will help with the search aspect. Also remember to put the @ in front of the person's user name. Finally, remember NOT to start the tweet with @username but instead with #followfriday since only that person + people following that person will see it - defeating the purpose of making a recommendation.
How to find out who has suggested you
Since FollowFriday recommendations are rarely done as @replies, it's a good idea to take a peek to see if anyone has suggested you. If you are using TweetDeck, they should show up in your @replies column. If you use Tweetie, you can go to your profile page and there is a link to search from there. If you are using the web, you can put @yourname in the search box.
Remember to be courteous
In my opinion, it's a matter of courtesy to say thank you to those who have recommended you. After all if they are taking the time to suggest you to their own followers, it should get at least a nod.
How you handle this is at your discretion. I used to DM (direct message) people. Then I would tweet a list of those who have suggested me and include the #followfriday hashtag. Something like this:
Thanks for the #followfriday @designmeme @andysowards @Minervity @styletime @iamkhayyam
Now with the volume of thanks I need to do I tweet songs to people who have recommended/retweeted me during the week.
There are some sites that have sprung up that look at #followfriday recommendations.
http://nearbytweets.com/search/followfriday - is a nice tool that will show you people suggested by others that are geographically near you.
http://www.topfollowfriday.com - provides daily ongoing counts for all users suggested by someone for the first time. It does not count duplicate, it does not count #followfriday lists that start with @user, it does not count tweets containing RT.
http://www.boxuk.com/followfriday/ - updated every 15 minutes on Friday. Counts duplicates from what I can see but does not include suggestions that contain RT (retweet).
http://www.tweeplerank.com/ - a ranking service that shows #followfriday #mrtweet recommends and #tweepletuesday. Like Topfollowfriday.com, it does not count recommendations including RT and if it starts with @username, it seems that the first person is not counted. Duplicates do not count.
http://www.followfridays.com - provides live #followfriday feed
Note: these sites only track where #followfriday tag is specifically included.
http://thetwittertagproject.com/followfriday.php - a site that allows you to autogenerate #followfriday recommendations based on those you have most recently communicated with. Note: I'd suggest you review the list before just tweeting it :)