I will be the absolute first to admit that I don’t like rules. In fact, I hate them. I’ve always felt that they were unnecessary if people would exercise even the slightest degree of common sense. But, we all know how UN-common common sense it, and it is for that exact reason, that we (unfortunately) NEED to have rules.

Before I just lay down the law and explain the rules, though, I think it’s only fair that we give everyone a chance to see exactly why this is just common sense. 🙂

There Is A Law…

An apple falls from a tree because of the Law of Gravity… there are also laws that govern social media. It’s a simple matter of cause & effect: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. “Follow Friday” is an instance where can see Law #7 in action: People just want to be loved.

The Right Way…

Follow Friday is an opportunity to share with our friends the people that we value. We are saying “this is someone that I get value from, and I want you to enjoy what they have to offer as well”. It’s about sharing, giving and providing value to others.

…and the Wrong Way

Follow Friday is NOT about getting more followers. Some people (either ignorant of the law, or possessing a lack mentality) will recommend as many people as they can for #followfriday in hopes that some of them will feel obligated to reciprocate that gesture. By accomplishing this, they hope that they will attract new followers. Sadly, they just don’t get it…

It’s about relationships, NOT numbers

100 followers who love & respect you are far more valuable than 10,000 who are not emotionally engaged. Think about it… we all see billboards and magazine ads every day without taking much note, but when a friend recommends a new restaurant or movie, we stop and listen.

This isn’t just some hippie-make-love-not-profits idea we’re talking about, it’s also solid marketing. Every marketer dreams of having their campaign go viral. When people are genuinely interested it automatically grows, even without your help.

Case in point – Did you know that Susan Boyle, of Britain’s Got Talent, almost instantly became one of the most popular videos on www.youtube.com… And she had never even heard of youtube!  She wasn’t trying to get a lot of views, she was just doing what she was passionate about. If you do the same, you’ll see similar results… maybe not 1 million followers, but you’ll get the ones that see value in what you offer.

Showing Love To Others

Okay, so now that we understand that it’s about what we give instead than what we get, let’s do it with an A+ effort. What would make you feel more loved:

  • #ff @yourname @stranger1 @stranger2 @stranger3 @stranger3 @stranger4 @stranger5 @stranger6
  • Friends, check out @yourname an amazing friend of mine who’s tweets make me smile every day. #followfriday

Yeah, pretty obvious, huh? Of course you would prefer the 2nd one better. (If not, i’ve got an #blockparty you can join)

But how do I fit all my friends in?

You don’t. That’s the point… People feel special when you give them recognition. Nobody wants to be a statistic, they want to be recognized as a valuable individual.

Lumping my name in with 100 people with no explanation of why you recommend me doesn’t make me feel special. In fact, it just pisses me off. Can you imagine @sharonhayes‘ inbox? If all of her 30k+ followers did the #ff spam method, she wouldn’t get anything done.

Besides, even if your bulk recommendations are genuine, most people on twitter can’t follow that many new tweeps in a day anyway.

Some EXCELLENT examples

These are actual examples that are dead-on the money:

Go Forth & Multiply (but do it responsibly)

That’s it… go for it, show love and help make twitter a better place.

If you have a great #followfriday you want to share, feel free to reply to me and I’d love to pass it along! 🙂