It’s often said that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Instead, true innovation commonly comes from new ways of doing the same old things. With the Twitter tradition of Follow Friday (#followfriday or #ff) losing its luster, why not get back to the essence of real recommendations through video? Need a bit more evidence to see the value behind video FFs and the variety of ways you can approach the concept?
What is Follow Friday Supposed to be About and What Happened?
It started off as a heartwarming way to thank and recognize a tweep (Twitter friend) who has been influential to you somehow, and was started by Micah Baldwin on January 16, 2009 to encourage recommendations. As an example, Janet Callaway always inspires me with the creative ways she encourages us to be better than ourselves through her blog posts, so I schedule a Follow Friday recommendation for her: “#FF @janetcallaway inspires me because she's always thinking outside the box & encourages others to do the same! janetcallaway.com” -- the hope is that my FF message will encourage some of my followers to follow her as well or at least connect with her through her blog.
Unfortunately, over time, I’ve noticed more and more people turn the Follow Friday tradition into borderline spam. Consider the tweeps who have never interacted with you before yet mention you among six other tweeps with a spammy link to their landing page; does this remind you of any #FF messages you’ve seen with a list of Twitter handles and no explanation?
Follow Friday YouTube Video Attempts
Now, imagine someone recommending you on Follow Friday in a video. To me, this conveys a message of effort, personalization, and authenticity. Texan director Cameron McCasland created one of my favorite video FFs. His warmth and sincerity shines through in his shout outs, and he takes advantage of the venue to not only encourage new people to reach out, but also encourage interaction among his followers:
Michael LaMonica experimented with a 2-minute FF video clip involving rolling credits and special messages for each person or group of people. In fact, he created this video in an effort to make Follow Friday more meaningful.
Unfortunately, both of the above examples were one-time videos and all of the video FFs I came across were short term. It’s tough to make weekly videos and you only really have time to recommend a small number of people at a time. Patrick Hughes of Visual Post, a media production company, is the most successful I’ve seen in making a series out of it, producing over 30 video FFs in which he involved various guest co-hosts. What a great idea to make the videos more view-worthy and entertaining! But is there another way to give a special, visual testimonial without requiring all that time, planning, and energy?
Video FFs as Quick and Easy as Tweets
Last week, a good friend of mine Jim Dougherty blew me away in only 36 seconds. He created a Keek video (one of over 100 he has made) to recommend me and my website, coining the terms “Team Samantha” and “Team Peru”:
Keek is all about communication through microvideos or “keeks,” and is quickly becoming known as Twitter for video. You only have a maximum of 36 seconds to record a short video clip via webcam or through Keek’s Android or iPhone apps. Your Keek functions like a quick status update. Founder and CEO of Keek, Isaac Raichyk, says that their mission is “to enable a global community to see through each others’ eyes.” As such, your FF Keek can be your way to have people look through your eyes at people who have made a true difference in your life.
What's so great about video is that it’s memorable and what I especially appreciate about this recommendation is that it’s long lasting because I can even put up Jim’s Keek under the testimonials section of my website! And you can bet that Jim sure made an impression on me!
Now I guess it’s my turn, if only I could get over being camera shy… =)
What’s your take on the Follow Friday tradition? Has it lost its meaning? How can we be more sincere in our recommendations on Twitter or other social media venues? Have you submitted a video FF?
Thanks Rosaura Ochoa for the image.