Why I don’t really give a #FF

Twitter is, as has often been observed, a strange place. I joined mostly because one evening my friend was live-tweeting pictures from a gig I wished I was at. Then, a bit later, I thought I should probably follow Derren Brown as well, because he is interesting and strange, which is 50% like me.

I very much doubt that most people (and here I mean individuals rather than companies or groups) join Twitter to tell people about what they’re doing. I imagine that, like me, most people originally start a Twitter account for the purpose of receiving information, and only then move on to the Transmit mode.

Twitterers reading this, I’d be really interested to know why YOU joined Twitter, so please do let me know in the comments if you would like to.

Non-Twitterers, why haven’t you and what might tempt you to do so?

You find interesting sources of information or accounts that make you laugh, and you want to share it. The #FF hashtag (Follow Friday), as Twitterers will know, is a weekly exhortation to your followers to follow certain named individuals. For example, if you like me and have no bad conscience about lying to your followers, you might one day tweet

Hey everyone, #FF @CressidaFord because she will make you laugh! #norefunds

But after a while of that sort of information-juggling, something happens. You encounter someone else who juggles in the same area of interest. You connect, and form a bond. The network expands, and more people appear, and you start using Twitter like Facebook – telling people what you’re doing and where you are, instead of just spreading “useful” information. The social bit comes into play – and you make friends: proper friends, friends you might even meet “IRL” (which is that weird thing that happens when you go AFK).

Which is where #FF suddenly gets awkward. What if you love and get on with someone, but all they do is tweet about their toast or the next book they’re going to read? It’s interesting to you, sure, because they’re your friend and you like to know what’s happening in their life, and it’s seen as a mark of friendship to #FF someone. But doesn’t it devalue the #FF if you are simply paying your friend a compliment and not actually recommending their content to your followers? Do we need to come up with a different hashtag for friendship? Matey Monday? Chummy Chooseday?

And so I very rarely #FF, and when I do, it’s because that person has posted things recently that I think have been worth sharing, and of interest not just to me but to the kind of people that follow me. I’m interested in what’s next on your reading list! I am! I want to talk to you about it, and read it myself or share what I thought! But I don’t necessarily think that my (admittedly measly) 200-odd followers, who follow me for reasons best known to themselves, will without question be as interested as I am.

Last question:

Twitterers – how many times, roughly, have you actually followed someone on the strength of an #FF? Has it been worth it?

Non-Twitterers – do you think friendship #FF or sharing #FF would be more interesting to you if you started on Twitter, and which would you prefer to receive?

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3 thoughts on “Why I don’t really give a #FF

  1. You know what I hate most about the #FF hastag? It’s those tweets which comprise solely of @TwitterHandle’s courtesy of #FFHelper. Why? Why on earth should I follow all these accounts? what will they bring to my already crowded timeline #FF(S) 😉

    To answer your question as to why I have a Twitter account, I had a barely used account for a while, in receive mode, to follow people I thought I should be following. Then the riots happened and I received a whole lot more, then I got involved with a festival and went into broadcast mode to promote it and just didn’t stop!

  2. I am a Twitterer of a very modest kind. Haven’t ventured far beyond “Receive” mode. That’s because I don’ t think my usual thoughts would be of interest to ANYONE. That said, you won’t be surprised to know that I completely agree that #FF should be reserved for the truly mind stimulating Twitterers out there. i joined Twitter because I had to for reasons that could be called “auto-CPD”.
    One final comment: if I was a non- twitterer ( I’m having capitalisation issues with this) then I don’t think I’d umderstand your question…

  3. I joined Twitter yesterday under the pressure of colleagues at my internship. I’ve resisted so far, I think my Twitter will be quite boring because I have nothing to advertise. But joined it I did in the end. I don’t understand it just yet so I don’t know about this hashtag stuff or anything yet but it’s possible I will become a diligent user in the future. Am hoping to be a moderate user though

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