We’d all like to be famous for something. To be famous, we need to have an audience. To get an audience, we need the people already tuned in to what we have to say to tell others that there is plenty of awesomeness to go around.
On Twitter, retweets used to do the trick. Repeating someone’s hilarity often garnered them a few more followers, but one day Micah Baldwin took it a step further and added #followfriday to a tweet endorsing one of his favorite users.
The idea spread–the hashtag was often shortened to #ff–and Follow Friday took off. Popularity and an eagerness to recommend as many people as possible (usually in order to make yourself worthy of a follow) and rampant retweets (of tweets structured like: “#ff @user @user @user @user @user @user @user @user @user” made Fridays a painful time to watch Twitter.
But let’s back up here. There are plenty of positives associated with Follow Fridays. It’s a great, socially acceptable way to thrust people you like in front of people who like you, it can be fun to honor people you admire and it’s a great way to make a few new friends. Provided they follow Oatmeal’s Follow Friday rules, of course.
It’s when lists of Follow Friday hash tagged usernames get retweeted over and over that people started to resent Follow Friday. When we move from the more acceptable “this is @user. he is awesome and you should experience that” to “follow these people! yay! @user @user @user” when it crosses the line from Friday to lame day.
Moderation is key. Lists are bad. Less is more. Or go the other way and completely own it. Either way, sides have apparently been chosen. Pick one and run with it, ’cause we don’t see Follow Friday going away any time soon.