The Evolution of Follow Friday on Twitter

What is Follow Friday?

When I first started using Twitter back in 2007, Follow Friday wasn’t even around.  In fact, it wasn’t until January 2009, a blogger named Michah Baldwin obsessed with the idea that people wouldn’t know who to follow unless he recommended them.

courtesy of #mashable
courtesy of #mashable

The idea of  Follow Friday is genius.  Recommending your followers to follow someone you follow, or are friends with, converse with on Twitter recommending someone else they know and follow.   Back when it was originally started, people would recommend just a few people on that Follow Friday until the next week.  People would actually get followed.

The problem now however, is we have people doing #followfriday recommendations in bulk loading so many names in one tweet there is no room for the actual recommendation.  Sometimes the people being recommended are not actual people at all, but bot accounts!

Twitter bot account

This bot account was relatively easy to spot.  It still had the egg for the avatar, has zero followers and is following zero people and does not have the bio filled out.  Some bot accounts have avatars, followers and bios.  This is why it is so important to tweet back and forth with people BEFORE recommending them on #followfriday or any other day for that matter.

Let’s say you want to would like to participate in Follow Friday, but find individual  recommendations too cumbersome.  You have other options.  Here are a few tips:

  • If you follow people you know and trust who give great Follow Friday shout outs.  You can RT those and favorite to use at a later date.
  • HootSuite has the bulk upload option using Excel.

Hootsuite bulk upload


The initial file setup will take some time, but once you have it set up, all you need to do is change the dates.  I recommend spacing your tweets 30 minutes apart.  Each tweet will also need to be unique.  Hootsuite does not allow duplicate posts.  I also like to copy and save several files not just for #followfriday, but also  to use on any day so I can recommend many more people and vary the message.  I always use the #follow hashtag.  Don’t forget to save the file as the .csv file format (comma delimited).

  • Another option is to use a third party application call Bundlepost.  Bundlepost uses this same format, but in a more user-friendly format.  You can check it out with a 30-day free trial.

So, when you see all those #followfriday posts in your stream, don’t go running to Facebook… at least not until you post your own #followfriday tweets for your tweetfriends.

What do you think about #followfriday? Do you follow people when you see someone recommended?

14 Replies to “The Evolution of Follow Friday on Twitter”

  1. I do follow and take part on #FF. It has helped connect me to others I would otherwise not even know about. Xx

  2. Knikkolette,

    What a well-thought-out, detailed post. I like the practice of using #follow instead of #ff or #followfriday very much. The only thing I would recommend is that people use that every day except Friday, at least until we put follow friday to bed.

    Great minds think alike? I just posted on this about a week ago. I'm going to have to write another post on it as follow-up in a few weeks (once our current Women in Leadership series is over). If you're interested:

    Thanks so much for the education. Your posts always teach me something new 😉

  3. How cool is this. I didn't know that you could do this and I love Twitter. Thanks so much for the great tips!

  4. Great information, Knikkolette, thanks. Great feature of hootsuite I was not aware of, well, another one!

  5. That's pretty cool Knikkolette, I didn't know we could pinpoint it down to a single person and tweet. I was actually able to fav and RT that tweet from 16 Jan 09 and follow Micah Baldwin.

    That's a pretty slick system with HootSuite, that's the first I've heard of it.

  6. I really like your personalized messages! I appreciate getting them more and will try to follow you lead on this #FF =)

  7. Great post, Knikkolette. I didn't know the history of Follow Friday before this. I also appreciate your tips. They are always helpful.

  8. Thanks Heather – I know it can be hard to take the time, but it's kind of like replying to a text – just reply to the person who initiated it – not reply to all. If you personally know the person you tweet with – it's easy to make it personal.

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