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Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Blog Series -4 What's #FF?

Today's post is the last of our Twitter series, but not the last from Tanya Coyle, SLP and author of The Lexical Linguist ( We have more to come about social media and setting up your Personal Learning Network. If you haven't set up your twitter account and started your PLN I hope you will do so today! I'm pushing you to start NOW so you'll be a pro when school starts back in August. I promise this is like having an SLP-BFF right in your therapy room with you!! Your first tweet should say hello to "#SLPeeps" from there, we the SLPs, will include you in our group/tribe/band/clan/gang...haha, we call ourselves many things to denote family. Now without further ado, Tanya will explain #FF or #Follow Fridays.

Follow Friday (also known as #FF and #FollowFriday) is a way to recommend people in Twitter. The premise is simple: someone is contributing to your PLN or tweeting about things that you have enjoyed, you recommend them on a Friday. Any Friday. Every Friday. It’s your choice. In your recommendation, you include the hashtag #ff, #FF or #followfriday. There is also #SLPeepsSaturday which is along the same lines to recommend SLPeeps on Saturdays but I’m focussing on Follow Fridays today for a specific and good reason (see the end of this post).

The way you would do this is to tweet something like this:

#FF @CASLPA because they are the best professional association on Twitter and take care of their members (and non-members).


A huge #FF to @TwitterHandle for helping me out this week and making my life easier when I had to do a fluency assessment.


#FF @OtherTwitterHandle because his/her tweets are helpful to the #SLPeeps – especially for literacy info!

You get the idea.

Things to consider when giving a Follow Friday recommendation

Only recommend people you truly feel are worthy of being followed by others in your PLN.

People who should get recommended are those who:

  • Contribute meaningfully
  • Give you enjoyment from their tweets
  • Are tweeting actively

People you probably shouldn’t recommend:

  • People so new to Twitter that they haven’t yet tweeted anything or may not stick it through in the long haul (although giving a shout out or otherwise letting people know they’ve joined is still a good idea, just not in a “Follow Friday” way).
  • People who are not tweeting actively anymore (e.g. for more than a month or two).

You can choose to mention several people in an #FF tweet but it’s always better to provide one tweet per person you are recommending. It’s more personal, gives your followers the reason why you think they should follow someone and may actually cause people to follow them (which is kind of the whole point, right?). Most importantly, it’s paying that person a more specific compliment and building up others in your network.

@dayneshuda on said this and more very eloquently here. Ever since I read that last fall I have more often than not created specific and detailed FF recommendations, rather than ramming in as many people as possible into each tweet. People really do appreciate it and I get a chance to publicly recognize others in my PLN in a much more heartfelt way.

FF Rankings

There is a ranking system for FF recommendations. It’s managed through and ranks people based on the number of FF recommendations they receive each Friday (no matter where in the world it is Friday) . This is ranked globally but also by country. I don’t think anyone should be overly concerned about their FF rankings in general, but it is interesting to look at who is getting the most FF recommendations to consider who you may choose to follow.

Points assigns points to each user for getting FF recommendations from other users. It works like this: you get 50 points if you are the only one recommended in a tweet – if you are given a recommendation with others in the tweet, the points are divided by the number of people in that same tweet. So if you are recommended in a tweet with 5 other people, you only get 8 points for that recommendation.

Important Rules

The rules to get points are that you must be mentioned in an ORIGINAL #FF tweet (so RTs do NOT count, nor do replies or thank yous to the original #FF). Another important rule is that your FFs won’t be counted if you recommend more than 50 people in a given week – probably because they think you are spam and who honestly has time to recommend 50 or more people?? The final important rule is that only your FIRST recommendation for a given person will be counted per week.

IMPORTANT: If your tweets are protected, they will NOT be counted for FF rankings!

I think those are the most important rules, but the other rules can be found here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Guest Blog Series -3 Twitter Etiquette

Good Morning! Today we continue in our series from the Lexical Linguist, ( Tanya Coyle, about using social media to develop your Personal Learning Network. The screen is yours, Tanya!

Today I want to give you some suggestions on etiquette for Twitter. Basically anything that is rude in the real world is probably rude on Twitter. However, I have summarized several things that are more specific to Twitter and may be less obvious. Some of this list has more to do with being rude to yourself than just to others. Also, not all tips are absolutes, only guiding principles so that you’re tweeting with thought and care.

Have a real picture and a brief profile outlining who you are or what you do

Reality Check: Meeting someone at a party and not introducing yourself or smiling

It is rude to have no profile picture or description for several reasons:

  • It says you don’t care enough to find a pic of something that helps your network get a sense of you and spend a minute uploading it.
  • It causes everyone in your network to be super vigilant whenever they see an egg in case it might be you (if they care enough to bother – they’ll probably just miss a lot of tweets if they follow you at all).
  • It may cause someone in your network to accidentally click a spam link in a moment of weakness because they thought it was from you.
  • It forces people to do extra research into who you might be before choosing to accept you to follow their tweets or deciding to follow you. That’s if they are bothered doing the research at all – most will just not follow you back.

Always credit other people’s ideas

Reality Check: Telling a coworker you found a great resource or had a great idea that was actually your other coworker’s resource/idea.

When you RT someone, it’s OK to truncate their tweet a bit to make it fit the 140 character rule, but be sure you give credit where it’s due. You can either RT them directly or rewrite the info and add ‘via@tweetname’ at the end of your tweet. It’s also best to credit an online source even if you didn’t get it from Twitter, especially if that source has a twitter account (e.g. newsmedia, bloggers, etc). At the very least, include the link to the info you’re tweeting about when appropriate/possible.

Thank ppl for RTing you

Reality Check: not thanking someone for a compliment or recommendation

I think the reason is obvious but the follow through can get tricky, as it’s not always clear-cut and easy to find all the RTs of your tweets that exist. If someone is using a Twitter client instead of the web, especially mobile phone clients, they don’t always let Twitter know and Twitter can’t let you know in turn. The quickest place to find RTs is to go to the web and click ‘your tweets retweeted’ or If you are using TweetDeck or a similar client, be sure in your settings that ‘don’t show duplicated tweets’ clicked or you often won’t see past the first person to RT you. Finally, I sometimes find RTs I missed by searching for “RT @SLPTanya” in the search field on Twitter Web. Your Tweets Retweeted is still the best way to see them, unfortunately. Just make every effort.

Also thank people for giving you a shout out or a Follow Friday recommendation.

Respond to ppl who tweet you

Reality Check: Ignoring someone speaking directly to you

This falls under the ‘engage in your network’ advice from my tips on building your network. If someone sends you a directed tweet (e.g. they started their tweet with your @Name) or a Direct Message, you should make every effort to respond to them in some way. You should do this even once you have a lot of followers. One of the most fantastic things about Twitter is that it makes other people more accessible, be they celebrities, companies, or regular folks. Really amazing Twitter gurus who have thousands of followers are defined by responding to as many directed messages and tweets as humanly possible. Will you miss people? Sometimes, but it’s the effort that counts. A simple Description: :)will often suffice (if a specific answer was not required).

Promote people in your network, not just yourself

Reality Check: Only talking about yourself or your interests and telling everyone how awesome you are

It’s fine to use Twitter to promote your blog, company, and so on, but if you spend all your time promoting yourself, you can get very boring and come off as a ‘bot’. If you spend time promoting others in your network with RTs, shout outs, Follow Friday (#FF) recommendations and so on, you more actively engage in your PLN and come off as an interested and interesting person to connect with.

Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t follow you back

Reality Check: Are you genuinely interested in everything everyone else is Tweeting?

Everyone has different ways of following people, and not everyone monitors who’s following them at any given moment (I certainly don’t). If someone doesn’t follow you back, it’s not personal. Give them reasons to notice you and follow you back by RTing them and engaging them with comments on their tweets. Similarly, don’t take it personally if someone stops following you. In fact, sometimes Twitter has accidentally caused my account to unfollow people I’ve been following happily for a long time. And sometimes people stop following someone else for a short time (e.g. if you’re at a conference or tweeting about a topic they are no longer interested in).

Along the same lines, I don’t suggest you blindly follow back anyone who follows you. You should develop your PLN tailored to your specific interests and needs. Don’t feel you have to follow everyone and don’t feel that everyone should be interested in your interests.

Don’t tweet excessively or with too many tweets in a row.

Reality Check: hogging the conversation

If you regularly post multiple tweets in a row in order to tell a story to all of your followers, consider a blog; it’s a much better format for sharing stories and complex ideas. Likewise, space out information tweets because the same peril may befall you for tweeting many different links in a short time period. People will often skip over your tweets if you do this too often, and then they may miss it when you have something really important or interesting to share or a question they may have been able to answer. I know many people get unfollowed for tweeting excessively because you clog up their twitter feed.

NOTE: I’m adding this post hoc due to some confusion – I don’t mean getting online and responding to multiple people suddenly, I mean posting to ALL your followers EXCESSIVELY in a short period of time (or all day long, as some tweeters do outside of the SLPeeps).

Don’t RT a link you haven’t checked out yourself

Reality Check: recommending a book you’ve never read or an idea you don’t know anything about

It may be broken or otherwise in error. Also, it may not represent your views and then you are, in essence, endorsing it to others. Don’t rely on the caption with the link in someone else’s tweet because it may lead you to think it’s about something it’s not.

Remember that Twitter is Public

Reality Check: acting inappropriately in public

Don’t tweet anything that can get you fired, get you arrested, upset your mother, or otherwise paint you in a negative light to future/current people in your life. Also, swearing on Twitter is a bit like yelling profanities in a public place. Along with the previous tip, I would posit that it’s rude to yourself to potentially damage your reputation because you fell prey to the ‘anonymity of the internet’. This is obvious if you are tweeting professionally but also make a careful decision about what you say even if using Twitter personally. You never know who will see your tweets (even if they are ‘protected’)!

Keep within the 140 character limit

Reality Check: talking for a long time at already long meetings

The best thing about Twitter is its 140 character limit. It does pose a problem occasionally, but if everyone began posting longer tweets, it would be impossible to keep up with the information flow. Also, it’s rude to force your followers to constantly click ‘read more’ to finish your tweets.

If someone poses a question or comment directly to you and you are responding, it’s more acceptable to go over the 140 limit because it can be assumed that that person is motivated to click ‘read more’. It may even be more polite to any followers who follow you both than to respond in 5 or 6 tweets that clog up their timeline.

Use “reply” to keep a string of convo

Reality Check: blurting out commentary to a friend without cluing them into the topic

If you comment on someone else’s tweet, always click the ‘reply’ button. Not only does it save you time by filling in their name automatically, it saves them time and energy trying to figure out what specific tweet you are commenting on. At the very least, include info about referring comment (e.g. re: Frazier protocol convo).

Describe info in links you tweet

Reality Check: lending someone a book with no cover or title page

If you post a link, always include some description of that link so people know if they want to read more, save it to favorites to read later, or just move on. If you tweet ONLY the link, it’s impossible for them to make that decision (and they’ll probably choose not to bother).

Use punctuation for clarity

Reality Check: stringing along all your words in one giant monotone sentence for listeners to parse

I think the reality check says it all. Please use some punctuation (even if we short form words to death) to ensure clarity whenever possible. You know who you are.

Don’t just take my word for it, here are some other references:

14 ways to use Twitter politely

Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide