To #FF or not to #FF, that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

the Tweets and Retweets of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of #FFs,

and by opposing, end them? to Tweet: to #FF;

No more; and by an #FF to say we end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks of not receiving an #FF

Well, let’s stop there as Shakespeare wasn’t all that hot on the #FF in general.

Oh, by the way, if you are new to Twitter, the hashtag, #FF means Follow Friday – a Twitter tradition where people send a tweet out recommending people to other people to follow. But, we’ll get into that a little more …

I had a brief exchange with a Twitter friend on Friday about #FF #FollowFriday regarding the relative merits of sending individual #FF mentions or groups of #FF (as I do at present).

Now, I can see both sides of the coin here, and through writing this post, I have discovered another side, that I am sure I was already aware of anyway, but which has changed my thinking on the whole #FF debate – what, a triangular coin?

You see, I have been doing #FF shoutouts since, I was in short trousers – well it seems that long. And, my take or impulsion, is that by sending an #FF, I am doing the following:

  • Sending recommendations of people that I feel are worth following (they are nice, engaging, interesting, challenging or stimulating and they are REAL people)
  • Grouping people together in a list so that people may be curious enough to click and follow people in the same grouping as themselves.
  • Spreading friendship, introducing people, recognising and promoting friends
  • It’s a kind of group viral hug sharing the big ‘S’ side of social media.

Others complain of noise generated by the #FF – aww, well, a lot of what is on social media could be classed as noise. It is a bit like gold panning, how much grit and water are you willing to filter to find the nuggets? And nuggets there are – I just accept that it is a bit of the “nature of the beast” on social media.

Some complain that #FF is a case of spamming, and Twitter’s new spam policy could take this stance too, and many of us who send the – #FF @Fred @bloggs @on @twitter @who @is @a @ really @good @guy @type @tweet @for @an @ff – could end up having their accounts suspended or blocked by Twitter, due to the spam-like resemblance of such an #FF.

Why do people do #FFs in the first place?

Well I guess some are genuine ‘do go follow this interesting / nice / engaging, person.’

Others try to ‘band-wagon’ by hijacking an #FF and adding their own Twitter handle (hard to notice in a list of names, huh?).

Some are surely just habit (mea culpa)

Some are in order to get re-follows by friends of friends

Some are sent to pacify guilt – what will happen if I don’t include @thatlady ?

Some are just returns for #FFs that are sent (mea culpa again)

Some are attempts at some form of social altruism.

Some time ago (on this blog) I wrote a post about Twitter and how I compared the experience to a party. For example, if people at a party came out and shouted constantly that you should buy, ‘x’ product in the faces of people how it wouldn’t work, but some spammers think that it is ok to do this on Twitter.

So with this in mind, I have reassessed my own use of the #FF hashtag and will, from now on, be adapting a more pragmatic approach to my FolloFriday shoutouts.

I will, as I would in a party, introduce people to others – perhaps a small group, but give a reason why others should follow them. This will mean that I will be reducing the noise for others in my timeline – did you just hear a huge sigh of relief then?.

At present, I group people in a list of FollowFridays and just tweet that list out – maybe that is no longer a logical thing to do…

Some people I read, call for the #FF to be banned – ooh, don’t like too much excess myself… I don’t see the point in banning things when empowering people to take responsibility could be a possibility.

I have learnt from a friend here – and I am grateful for that, I like things that challenge the way I think – so if you are not getting an #FF anymore, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you or care about you – just the opposite in fact, I am sparing you the noise that I have thus far generated, but I will still be recommending, only in a different way.

Well, I guess there are always going to be three sides to those triangular coins – let us know what you think about the famous #FF in the poll below (you can choose up to 2 options) :

[poll id=”2″]


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