AlanGustin Blog2

#FollowFriday Post… a Follow-Up and More.

Posted in Announcements, Information, Social Networking by alangustin on February 5, 2011

It would seem that I got sucked into a conversation that not too many people really care about anymore. It has only been a few days, but out of about 150 people who visited the post “Would You Kill #FollowFriday?” — only four left comments, indicating that the topic has been done to death already, or that most people don’t really care.

Of course, the fact that this blog doesn’t enjoy much of a following has a lot to do with the outcome as well, but I have to admit that four comments out of 150 views is pretty lame. Now I have to face up to the fact that I was way behind the timeline on this one. This is just one more in a series of lessons I’m learning about blogging and social networking, with this lesson titled, “Yesterday’s News is Just That – Old News. Of course, this is where our adopting of – and total immersion into – social media has brought us. We live in an “instant” world now, where it seems that if you’re not paying attention, you may as well get out of the game.

But that is a cynical view on my part, and the more important lesson I’m learning now is titled, “Superficial Social Networking is Just That – Superficial”. Some things take extra time to sink in. I am still climbing the learning curve where it remains fairly steep, and I cannot see the horizon yet. But I have learned this: it’s wrong to assume that social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are some kind of “magic bullet” that will bring fortune to an entrepreneur. There’s more work to be done than simply sending out a tweet about a new blog post once a week, or mentioning your followers every week in a barrage of #FollowFriday tweets. This brings me back around to the original topic of this post.

It seems that most of us ride the learning curve when it comes to using Twitter. I remember when I first saw a FollowFriday tweet. Actually, it wasn’t just one tweet; it was many, many tweets. The same guy kept popping into my timeline with tweet after tweet listing other users. After I figured out what was going on, I noticed others doing it. Not wanting to be left out, I jumped in head-first tweeting my #FollowFriday tweets along with all the others who were doing it. As soon as I started doing it, my email inbox started filling up with messages from new followers. Wow! This was great. I started following people left and right, and before I knew it, I had a few hundred followers.

Then I noticed something. The number of followers coming in started dropping off. I found myself working harder to put out more, interesting and informative tweets. But this was becoming a one-way street, and I was growing weary of the ride. I needed to pull over and park for a while and reassess my use of social media. I viewed a YouTube video in which Seth Godin was asked a question something like, “Do you think social networking is important for small business, and how would you suggest doing it?” (paraphrase)
His answer made ultimate sense, but it was also a disapointing wake-up call. Godin said that it really doesn’t matter if you have 100,000 Twitter followers. If you don’t have any real relationships with any of them, you’re simply watching a counter that does absolutely no good whatsoever. He went on to describe what a real relationship was… valuable.

Forming valuable relationships (the mutually-beneficial kind) involves more than merely mentioning someone in a tweet along with ten other users. This is what I’ve learned (again) over the past few days of reading posts and comments on the topic of #FollowFriday. It’s easy to get caught-up in the whole I-gotta-have-as-many-followers-as-Bill-Gates syndrome. As I learn about the practice of using twitterbots or paying for followers (neither of which I use) to boost numbers, I’ve decided that I don’t wanna play that game.

This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. I created a follow tag called #SuperSunday#Follow which I’ve been using to tweet my FollowFriday tweets (on Sunday, of course). But this Sunday will be the last time I do that. After this Sunday, I will instead dedicate myself to forming real relationships with those who want to do the same. I will, no doubt still recommend followers from time to time. But I will mention only one person in a tweet, and only if I have a reason to.

I now realize that people are going to use Twitter the way they want to, and that’s good. Attempts by some to try and “regulate” the use of FollowFriday is futile, unless enough people feel the same way and simply stop doing it. As long as Twitter allows the FollowFriday tweets to continue, then it’s all legal and up to the individual to participate in the #FF practice or not. Twitter is an amazing social network. Its vastness is mind-boggling. However, its effectiveness is in question relating to how it’s used, and that’s up to the individual to find out. Tweet on, tweeples!

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Angie Moore and Alan Gustin, Alan Gustin. Alan Gustin said: #FollowFriday Post… a Follow-Up and More. […]

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