Friday, June 12, 2009

How to avoid the #FollowFriday problem

One of the challenges with Twitter is finding ways to meet people. Real people who want to interact and not just number collectors/spammers/broadcasters. It used to be easier before. You had the option of seeing @replies of everyone you follow. This gave you the ability to see conversations with people you didn't know and to jump in. Now Twitter has removed this option so it's made the hunt a little more difficult. 

For several months, #FollowFriday has been used as a way to share great tweeps with your other followers. But there are 2 problems with #FollowFriday: 1. It's really lost a lot of it's effectiveness. Most people continue to list a bunch of tweeps without providing a reason. Very few people will actually follow people listed like this. 2. In spite of the @reply change having been made many weeks ago, many are still doing #FollowFriday incorrectly. If you start off the tweet with a person's username, only that person, any other users listed and anyone those people follow will get to see the tweet. It more or less defeats the purpose of doing #followfriday since those not following won't even see the tweet.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I started to change how I did #followfriday's. Instead of tweeting individuals, I decided to do a blog post providing a more extended description about people. This worked - for a while. It took a lot of time to put together.  Time I could be spending communicating, sharing, interacting with followers. 

Many others since have started to go the same route - blogging recommendations (like @ConcertReviewer's blog) or providing a permanent list of recommendations (like @KimSherrell 's list). Kudos to those that do this! 

I'm starting to see more people tweet individuals with info about the person they are recommending. This provides value. It's easy for anyone to do. But it still does take a bit of work. There's also the guilt complex: ie if you give someone a recommendation one week, does that mean you need to give one the next etc.

The problem with tweeting #followfridays is that they have a very short shelf life. Pretty much only people online around the time the tweet goes out will even get to see it. It's not a very good bang for the buck.

The Great News is..... there is an fast, easy way to show your appreciation for other Twitter users that takes as little time as doing a #followfriday tweet. It provides lasting value AND you only need to do it one time.... 

....This is by using for making your recommendations. Now is certainly not something new, but I really think it is being underutilized. 

MrTweet makes suggestions of people you aren't following based on people within your network and recommendations they have made for others along with who they communicate with. You get to see a nice summary of each recommended person and you can choose to follow them (and/or send a tweet to them) directly from MrTweet.

You can also make recommendations of others via MrTweet. When you do so, it gets saved permanently & improves their visibility when others use MrTweet.  Recommendations that you make are also tweeted to your followers.

To get started with MrTweet, sign up by following MrTweet on Twitter.

You can then log in at the MrTweet website - discover new people to follow and make recommendations for others.

Recommendations for people to follow are updated daily.

Three tips:

1. You can make recommendations for others by going to: - for example if you want to make a recommendation for me, you'd go to

In the white text box - just type what you want to say about an individual after the word because. Make sure to leave the first part the way it is so that the recommendation will "take". Unlike a normal tweet, you have more space to provide details. Your outgoing tweet recommendation will have a link back to Once you are happy with what you wrote, you can click on the "Recommend him/her" button.

2. You can tweet your own recommendation list on #FollowFridays (or any day for that matter). People can see your page by going to - for example for me you'd go to 

3. You can share discoveries you have made via by tweeting this link: - for example

There are a couple of other things you can do to help those in your network:

1. Send a tweet anytime about a user to your followers with a reason why they should follow. Just remember it's important not to start the tweet with the person's username.

2. Make introductions between 2 or more individuals that you know have something in common. Again, don't start it with @username and try to explain why you are introducing them in the tweet. This may allow others that follow you to find new people too.

I hope that you've enjoyed this post and that it's given you some new ideas!