For geeks of a certain age, the acronym FF will forever conjure up mental images of the cosmic adventures of Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny, who are also known as Mr Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Thing and The Human Torch (collectively grouped as the Fantastic Four, or the FF).
Unfortunately, #FF on Twitter has no such fantastical connotations, for the FF in this case stands for ‘Follow Friday’.
Follow Friday is an internet meme that’s gained wide popularity and acceptance as a means to highlight to your own Twitter followers other people on the network who you respect or appreciate, advocating that they too should also follow that person.
When advocating a person in an #FF tweet, be sure to use their full Twitter handle (i.e. @NLCuk, including the ‘@’ character immediately followed by their Twitter name), otherwise people cannot easily follow the person you are suggesting.
By using the full Twitter handle, the person’s Twitter handle becomes a metadata tag, which means that it becomes interactive. In other words, it becomes an internet hyperlink which, once clicked or pressed upon, will take you to that person’s Twitter profile. From there, you can choose to follow the person on Twitter (assuming you are logged into the network).
Due to the iteration in #FF, people on Twitter tend to only do this on the Friday itself, although some users either do this before or after the Friday, acknowledging that they are early or late in the process.
People can either advocate one person in a #FF tweet or multiple people of interest. If Twitter character space allows, it’s always useful to give an explanation as to why you are advocating that person(s) to your followers, as it will give them an incentive to follow them.
Some people tend to just nominate close connections and friends on a repeated basis or just those that they have interacted with in a positive way in the preceding week. This also is an acceptable use of the #FF hashtag.
If you name someone in an #FF tweet, that person will be notified via Twitter. If someone has named you in an #FF tweet, it is always polite to acknowledge this compliment, either by replying publicly to the tweet, retweeting the person’s #FF tweet or by selecting it as a ‘favourite’ tweet (by pressing or clicking the star underneath that #FF tweet).
Because #FF is a hashtag, you will be presented with a list of everyone on the network’s #FF tweets if you click or press on the #FF itself within the tweet. This can be an interesting thing to do, and a possible way of finding new contacts online.
#FF? No, not this FF.
Please be aware that a #FF tweet is a clear sign of personal advocacy of the person you are naming, so don’t cite anyone who may be problematic from a personal or professional viewpoint.
For the same reason, you may wish to monitor someone you’ve seen nominated in another person’s #FF tweet without actually following them. The best solution in this scenario is to add the person you wish to monitor (but not follow) to a private Twitter List.
At the time of writing, the #FF hashtag and meme is only used on Twitter, and not on other social networks.