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Seth Simonds posted this morning about the #FollowFriday tradition on Twitter. For those of you who don’t quite understand the #FollowFriday bit, the idea is to tweet the Twitter names of people you Follow that you think other people would enjoy Following. Ideally you add some key words to describe that person. I hope that cleared it up…
#FollowFriday started in January (read the history here) and has grown into standard practice on Twitter. There is even a #FollowFriday website!
Simonds writes that Follow Friday is “one of the worst things to happen on Twitter, in my estimation…” and characterizes it as “back-rubbing mayhem” and compares the way some people overuse #FollowFriday to spam email, not to mention the incredible number of ReTweets that #FollowFridays always generate.

He continues:

“I have stepped away from Follow Friday because a once-valuable practice has become disingenuous and spammy. But I want this criticism to be constructive. I’d like to introduce my alternative. I’ve decided to post each Friday with recommendations in seven categories. Some people I’ve known for awhile. Others… are brand new in my world.”

While I love #FollowFriday and have found a lot of great people that way, he makes a good point. Afterall, the original purpose of #FollowFriday and perhaps why Twitter has become so successful, according to founder @micah, was, “people enjoy relationships with people they can be proud of, and in return, want other people to be proud of them.”

Basically, his idea is to feature people on his blog as a way of recommending them and taking the time to profile them rather than just throwing their @Name out there. He goes on to feature someone from each of these categories: blogger, personality, inspiration, community builder, artist/musician, tech and wildcard.

It’s a great concept and I think it says a lot about how Twitter is becoming more influential and about how the number of people on Twitter is growing. Tightly knit Twitter communities could be built with #FollowFriday suggestions in the past, but with thousands of new people every day, the game is changing. What worked in January of this year is not the same as what will work in May.

I’m excited to see if Simonds’ effort about Twitter recommendations will catch on like #FollowFriday did and where else Twitter will grow in regard to community building. Perhaps they will start to overlap with the way affiliate marketing works, or Seth’s community building idea will take a page from the affiliate marketing network handbook?