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Social Networking – Your Way or Mine?

I’m somewhat reluctant to write this post as I’m not much of a fan of calling people out in blog posts. However this is something which seems stuck in my craw and so I have to get it off my chest. Last Friday SimplyZesty published a post exhorting us (Twitter folk, that is) to stop the #FollowFriday convention:

I mean am I really going to look through 10 different @names and see if they are interesting or not? The campaign to ban #followfriday should start immediately as nobody gives a toss what people you follow and we are never going to follow them in return anyway.

I really don’t want to see any more tweets like the one below so please just stop this pathetic waste of time people will you

It’s the obnoxious tone that particularly irked me. Considering SimplyZesty pitch themselves as an ‘Online PR & Social Media’ outfit, the notion that such an agency should dictate to the people they derive their business from the way in which they should use the medium struck me as hypocritical. This was only reinforced by the campaign they’ve launched for their client Ruby Card ; Ruby Tuesday which is a competition:

We’re pleased to announce the launch of our weekly Ruby Tuesday competition, starting today. We’re giving away a Ruby prepaid card loaded with €100 cash on Facebook, Bebo and Twitter. All you have to do to enter is become our friend or follow us, then include the words ‘Ruby Card’ on your status update on Facebook or Bebo and tweet the message on Twitter with the hashtag #rubycard.

Hang on a second, it’s a weekly hashtag posting event by a mass of Twitter users? Oh but that’s different of course? This makes me wonder, are we putting ‘game-changers’ on a pedestal and not questioning them once they reach a certain height? Niall’s certainly a smart and successful bloke with a lost of online visibility. Though this seems a misadventure, I’m not seeing anyone question him up on it.  In a way it reminds me of the response to Techludd when it first kicked off and how some of the social-celebs responded in the form of condescending and dismissive diatribes of how Techludd should stop before it starts. When change start to overtake those we label the game-changers what then?


Posted by James Gallagher

39 year old nerdy sort who now lives in Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland.

  • I wish everyone would stop using Twitter the way they do it and start using it the way I do it. #fUseTwitterLikeJoeDoes

  • We might be able to get that to trend :)

  • stephysite

    But I like to follow people…it's like stalking them, but not really! :)

  • Wow, I'm surprised Simply Zesty wrote that – as you said, the tone more than the content. Maybe they saw the inventor of #FollowFriday on Gnomedex – Micah Baldwin – he was apologising about it, so maybe in the states they are sooooo over #FollowFriday, and SimplyZesty are trying their damndest to seem clued in :) (p.s Isn't damndest a funny looking word?)

  • James, thanks for the feedback. First of all I aint no “game changer” so have to call you out on that one :) The tone wasn't meant to be obnoxious but I just kinda write in the way it comes out of my head which usually means it being a little like shooting from the hip. I have never liked fFollow Friday since I have been on Twitter as I just think it is a waste of time especially when the list gets so long but as I always say twitter is a democracy and if people don't like what they see they can always hit the unfollow button.

    Couple of people left comments that a good way of doing it would be #followfriday with just one person and a quick explanation about why to follow them. That defo sounds like it would make more sense.

  • Well that's it Niall, things can come out badly whether intentioned or not. I see a lot of value in Follow Friday and it has certainly introduced me to some excellent people along the way. What concerns me though is that any grass roots activity gets stifled and so I couldn't leave it unchallenged :)

  • When some like this persists it's often for a good reason. In this case, I believe that the avenue for people to recommend others who wouldn't otherwise get noticed is very powerful and cements the relationships that make Twitter such a force.

  • It's like eating no-added-sugar foods, less guilt :P

  • Simple solution – ability to hide tags so you dont like #followfriday just hide em all. Trend whoring bugs me more #rubycard

  • You're spot on James – I think this particular post would have been better suited to Niall's personal blog than the SZ blog. If Niall and SZ are insistent on spreading personal opinion on SZ, they should at least reinforce any points with some explanation, rather than take the draconian “Thou shalt not post #ff because I don't like it” approach.

    At the end of the day, noone is forcing Niall or anyone to click on each username and “check them out” – it's completely at that person's discretion to do so, and if #ff posts really bug you then just stop following everyone who posts them. Of course, that would probably leave you following very few people.

  • Good post, James. I have mixed feelings about #ff. When I first joined Twitter and became aware of the habit, I joined in – somewhat naively – with a flurry of names. It didn't take me long to realise that this wasn't a very meaningful way to do it. I (gently) scolded a friend recently for posting three tweets full of #ff names in rapid succession.

    Many Fridays I don't even do a #ff, but when I do I tend to recommend a small number of Twitterers, with a short reason for each. Maybe I'll cut it down to one or two a week. Reasons help enormously, I think. Unless you have considerable influence and credibility on Twitter, posting a frenzy of names without any context is unlikely to be followed up on, to any significant degree. I suspect that if there is a personal touch to a recommendation, it's far more likely to lead other Twitterers to investigate it.

    I appreciate Niall's frustration but I strongly disagree that #ff is a “pathetic waste of time”. It has led me to some wonderful Twitterers whom I might not otherwise have found, at least not so quickly. But like any technology or adaptation thereof, it ought to be used with restraint, judgement and good sense.

    Mark's solution is one that has occurred to me too. It would be very handy to be able to temporarily block a hashtag, a word, or a Twitterer, without the rigmarole of unfollow-refollow.

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