sábado, 2 de maio de 2009

Interview with Micah Baldwin, Father of FollowFriday

via TwiTip de Guest Poster em 01/05/09

by Neal Wiser. Follow him @nealwiser

micah-baldwin_smWhile researching my post FollowFriday; Too Much of a Good Thing? I had the pleasure to interview Micah Baldwin (@micah), VP and Lead Evangelist for Lijit Networks, a Boulder, CO startup and the "father" of FollowFridays (check out Micah's blog, Learn to Duck).

I was originally hoping just to get some insights and maybe a few quick "sound bites" about FollowFridays for the post, but Micah was so open and accommodating that I decided to include the entire content of the interview which offers some nice insight into FollowFriday.

Thank You, Micah.

The Interview

Neal Wiser: How do you feel about the response to FollowFriday?

Micah Baldwin: I think the response is great. More than I, personally ever expected. After all, no hash tag on twitter has ever lasted as long (It started January 16, and we are now into the fourth month!). Plus, I am not a big influencer on Twitter, nor do I have tons and tons of followers. All of that adds up to something that would have been funny for a couple of hours.

Neal Wiser: When you saw how popular FollowFriday was becoming, did you get any ideas on how you could "improve" or "change" it? Can you share any of those ideas?

followfridays-1st-tweet_sm1Micah Baldwin: I always felt, and have always said publicly, that all I did was send the first tweet. It was from there that things took on a life of their own. For example, I didn't even add a hash tag to my first tweet. Luckily @myklroventine suggested #followfridays (which I shortened to #followfriday because I misread his tweet), and my friends @chrisbrogan, @queenofspain, @jimkukral and @technosailor were kind enough to retweet my original tweet.

I sort of have the same issue with some of the #followfriday tweets as I do with twitter in general. 1) Followers have become currency of influence, and so it's this mad race to gain followers; 2) Because of #1 everything that can be gamed is, including #followfriday. While the majority of #followfriday tweets are still in the spirit of the original concept, there are more and more than are just sad attempts to gain followers.

The beginning concept, mention two or three folks and why people would find them interesting, is still the best and most interactive style for #followfriday. I think its simplicity (unbeknownst to me) is what made it so accessible.

Neal Wiser: Have you seen the Twitter user-base discover new ways to do/use FollowFriday?

Micah Baldwin: What I have seen are tools being built around #followfriday. Tools for constructing your #followfriday tweets. Posts on how to participate in #followfriday. It's amazing! I even have a site called followfridays.com built with my friends @strebel and @briantroy, so we could list the top recommended and top recommenders and a couple of featured folks as well.

Neal Wiser: Have you seen/heard of any abuses of FollowFriday? If so, what kind of abuse have you seen/heard of?

Micah Baldwin: I guess it depends on what you consider abuse to be. Some folks (in fact a lot of folks) don't like seeing a list of twitter names followed by #followfriday. I guess I agree since it doesn't provide much context or information. I have also seen "rings" where a group of people all suggest each other in an attempt to drive more followers to themselves.

My friend @humancell runs the site topfollowfriday.com and for some, the ratios of endorsements to recommended is amazing! For example, there is one guy who has sent 1200 #followfriday tweets with 4000 endorsements (so about 4 per tweet) to gain 1200 recommendations in return. Most people have sent like 20 #followfriday tweets total in 4 months.

Neal Wiser: Are you planning anything next for FollowFriday?

Micah Baldwin: It's not mine to plan. It's the "Twitter universe's" (I guess spending time in Boulder, CO has made me kinda hippish). Seriously, there is little I can do to shape or drive #followfriday. I would love to see other memes grow and flourish on twitter, and I think there is a simple strategy to making it work:

  1. It has to be simple
  2. It has to be positive
  3. It has to allow everyone to participate (meaning no inside jokes, no vertical references, etc.).

Neal Wiser: What do you think about FollowFriday spinoffs/variants (I know you like #woofwednesday), but what about MassFollowMonday, or others?

Micah Baldwin: What's the saying; Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Twitter is this weird "thing" that for some reason people apply value and worth to. To say that I am somehow more influential or worthy because I had a part of #followfriday is just silly. I think to some degree people want to catch lightening in a bottle again and are trying different ways to do it. I hope that if they are successful, it is in a way that adds value and positivity to Twitter and the people that use the tool. But most of the outshoots are really just the same concept with a different wrapper. It's not the concept that made #followfriday successful, it was the three points I listed in question five (above). If people already are doing something on #followfriday, why would they do any of these other identical activities? How do they add value?

I have been impressed with efforts that highlight amazing women on twitter (like
@savvyauntie, @geekmommy and @humanfolly or people focused on government like @cheeky_geeky and @scottprimeau or doing really interesting things with technology like @harper, @tomchikoore and @sfoskett.

While this doesn't really comply with the three points I made for what I think makes a successful twitter meme, it certainly allows me to find people to follow that I may not have found any other way.

After all, that's the whole point of #followfriday. It simply allows people you trust to answer this question: "Who would be interesting for me to follow?"

Personally, I would love to see memes about ideas (#ideatoday) where people present an idea in 140 characters and people provide feedback. Or social changes (#changetheworld) where people present a change that they would like to see and get volunteers to help make that change (small changes like "I need to clean up a park." Not the big causes), or other things that get people involved, that everyone can feel good about and that are really simple.

© 2008 TwiTip Twitter Tips.


Interview with Micah Baldwin, Father of FollowFriday

Related posts:

  1. Follow Friday; Too Much of a Good Thing?
  2. Twitter Interview with Steve Rubel
  3. Patience – A True Twitter Virtue

Sem comentários:

Related Posts with Thumbnails