Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Follow Friday as Self Branding

As you might know if you've been reading this blog for a while, I've been working on a paper which examines hashtags (#hashtags) in Twitter.  The paper is a study of how hashtags are used by corporate, celebrity and 'ordinary' Twitter accounts.  Today I've been writing about the 'Follow Friday' tag, and its implications for self branding. Here are a couple of paragraphs:

#FF is the abbreviation for ‘Follow Friday’, a weekly practice whereby Twitter members promote to their follower list the usernames of other members that are deemed worthy of interest. These recommendations are considered a token of esteem that within the linguistic economy of Twitter enhances the visibility and follower list of the nominated members. But while the Follow Friday practice appears in part altruistic, it also manifests subtle forms of self-branding, insofar as it enables the recommending updater to establish their position as an expert, who differentiates the hierarchies of perceived value in Twitter. The list of recommended usernames is one means by which the updater can display their network of contacts, and affirm their bonds within that network, which often (although not always) reflects their professional identity. For example, Selfridges uses #FF to promote fashion designers and magazines, the actor William Shatner’s ‘colleagues and friends’ include other actors and directors, while the lawyer recommended ‘legal industry peeps’.

#ff these legal industry peeps @karasmamedia @markbower @tessashepperson @jamesdunninggeo @brianinkster #law #uklaw

Fri, 30 Apr 2010 13:10

Follow Friday! #ff @vogue_london @grazia_live @nicolerichie

Selfridges, Fri, 26 Feb 2010 14:43

Fri, 23 Apr 2010 22:26:40 +0000 Another #FF for more colleagues and friends @rhettreese @willsasso @christophcarley @ac_field @paulcamuso and one more for @davidzappone

William Shatner, Fri, 23 Apr 2010 22:26

The #FF tag also appeared with expressions of thanks, which both acknowledges and reaffirms the hashtag as a means of accruing visibility and support.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 17:40:02 +0000 A BIG thank you to everyone who #FF, RTed & mentioned us over the weekend. We always appreciate your support!

Hoover, Mon, 13 Jun 2011 17:40

thanks for the #FF love @craigcalcaterra @Jason_IIATMS @fackyouk @BrentSGambill! Traveling, will #FF next week...

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 05:10

As a form of politeness, thanks imply that the recipient of the ‘Follow Friday’ is in the debt of the recommender. But, at the same time, posting such thanks also builds the reputation of the member by reproducing the recommendation and projecting their identity as someone who is esteemed to be worth following. In some cases, the #FF is explicitly self-promoting, where corporations and celebrities use the practice to advertise their products or outlets, such as the Travel Channel who promoted their new show, Deathwishmovers,

#FF @DeathwishMovers (our new show)

Travel Channel Fri, 11 Mar 2011 19:15

Or the actress, Dannii Minogue who recommended the accounts for her fashion line (ProjectD), which sold through the department stores Selfridges and Marks and Spencer, and designed by Tabitha Webb.

#FF @projectdonline @selfridges @marksandspencer @tabswebb

Dannii Minogue, Fri, 14 May 2010 10:29.

What do you think your #FF recommendations say about you? Are they an altruistic attempt to build the reputation of others, or a subtle form of self promotion?